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Erosion that threatens Matsqui dike will undergo repairs

Work will begin next week to fix erosion on the bank of the Fraser River in Matsqui Trail Regional Park, where the city says the eroded bank has come dangerously close to the Matsqui dike.   - Alex Butler
Work will begin next week to fix erosion on the bank of the Fraser River in Matsqui Trail Regional Park, where the city says the eroded bank has come dangerously close to the Matsqui dike.
— image credit: Alex Butler

Efforts to fix riverbank erosion that could threaten the Matsqui dike will begin next week – without full provincial funding.

A new erosion arc was discovered over the summer within 30 metres of the dike near Beharrell Road, and the city is worried the spring freshet could compromise the dike and lead to flooding.

The province gave the city permission to use $1.1 million previously granted funds for a different erosion arc to assist in the  current repairs, but another $1.5 million will come from the city’s general capital reserve. No plan was made in the budget to fund the project, so an amendment must be prepared.

As the Fraser River falls under provincial jurisdiction, Mayor Bruce Banman said the city continues to work with the province to make up the $1.5 million shortfall.

Regardless of the funding source, the city said the work must be completed before the spring.

Jim Gordon, general manager of engineering and regional utilities, said the contractor will begin in about a week and must finish by the end of February to meet Fisheries and Oceans regulations.

Banman said staff have worked with the province, including enlisting the help of former city councillor and new MLA for Mission-Abbotsford Simon Gibson, to stress the importance of the issue to the province.

City staff say the issue of erosion will be ongoing without efforts to fix the course of the river, which is deepening on the Abbotsford side and will cause continuous erosion.

The city is asking the province for an additional $2.2 million grant for bank protection, as well as calling for Victoria to take the lead on erosion problems to protect the Matsqui dike.

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