To help reduce flood risk, the Province is providing Merritt with $329,000 for a project to update flood-hazard mapping and develop new flood-mitigation plans.
The Province is funding flood-mitigation planning projects in several communities affected by November 2021 flooding to help them prepare for freshet 2022 and increase long-term resilience. Flooding in spring or early summer caused by heavy rain or melting snow is known as freshet.
“The Province is always there to support communities in their recovery after disasters and to help them build back better and more resilient to climate change. We know that a changing climate means more intense and frequent disasters, and it is crucial that communities across the province prepare and adapt,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “With this funding, we’re supporting communities in planning ahead with the aim of preventing flooding when possible and minimizing the effects on our communities and people in B.C.”
The funding will allow Merritt to update its flood-hazard maps and conduct a hydrotechnical assessment to develop short- and long-term flood-mitigation plans in response to the November floods. Flood-mitigation planning helps the community to develop strategies to protect people and property from flood hazards. Work will begin immediately.
“The communities affected by last year’s floods have been working hard to build back better,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “As extreme and unpredictable weather becomes more frequent, we need to do what we can to keep people and things we care about safe. I’m happy to see these communities receiving this funding so they can plan for future risk reduction, all the while using creative solutions to rebuild. Our government is working on changes so that we’re better prepared to respond to and recover from natural disasters with our local government partners going forward.”
The hydrotechnical assessment may also be used to support applications for additional provincial or federal funding streams for disaster mitigation and climate adaptation.
“Shortly after the emergency, the city began work on long-term flood-mitigation planning, modelling and dike design,” said Linda Brown, mayor of Merritt. “The funds provided by the Province will cover the costs of creating a detailed flood-mitigation plan that we expect to be complete by June. This plan will then be used to support an application to the federal government in July for funds to complete the work set out in that plan. Our goal in this project is to better protect our community from flood, support the river ecosystem and, if possible, allow for recreational trail opportunities along any potential diking system.”
Funding is provided from Emergency Management BC’s disaster-mitigation budget.