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Abbotsford, Chilliwack, First Nations and province sign flood-mitigation framework

More than $8.5M designated for pump-station upgrades and infrastructure repairs
Ongoing repairs to the Sumas Dike are included among Abbotsford flood-recovery projects that are receiving $5.28 million in funding from the province. Meanwhile, the multi-government Sumas River Flood Mitigation Collaborative Framework was signed by the various partners on Friday (April 27). (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

An agreement to make Sumas Prairie more resilient to flooding was signed Friday (April 28) by the province; Semá:th, Matsqui and Leq’á:mel First Nations; the City of Abbotsford; and the City of Chilliwack.

The Sumas River Flood Mitigation Collaborative Framework sets out a structure for “all partners to work efficiently and collaboratively toward solutions and approaches to address the challenge of flooding risks,” a press release states.

As part of the agreement, the province is providing more than $4 million, which includes a technical team of experts to share knowledge and advice on flood-risk mitigation.

As well, there will be upgrades to Abbotsford’s Barrowtown pump station, which was overwhelmed by floodwaters from the nearby Sumas and Nooksack rivers during the atmospheric river that hit the area in November 2021.

Funding will go toward the design and construction of a flood wall to protect the pump station, including its electrical system.

The upgrades are among 10 local projects receiving a combined $8.48 million from the province, including repairs to infrastructure, such as roads and the Sumas dike.

RELATED: Abbotsford mayor says Sumas and Nooksack watersheds deserve federal attention

Of that funding, $3.2 million is going toward the pump station upgrades, while the other $5.28 million is designated for the additional recovery projects (see list below).

Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma said the flooding of 2021 impacted “the lives and livelihood of everyone in Abbotsford” and cut off the Lower Mainland from the rest of the province and country.

“We know we can’t keep doing things the way we’ve done them before if we want to protect the region from future catastrophic flooding,” Ma said.

“We’re confronting the realities of climate change head on in partnership with local governments and First Nations in ways that incorporate Indigenous knowledge into flood-mitigation planning.”

All the partners involved in the agreement applauded the collaboration.

Chief Dalton Silver of Semá:th First Nation said the agreement is “a small but significant step in the right direction for us to have a say in the management of our land.”

“By participating in this agreement, we are exercising our inherent right, taking a role in shaping a better place for future generations. This is just the beginning, but we are hopeful that this agreement will serve as a foundation for more collaborative efforts between different levels of government,” he said.

RELATED: Provincial government announces $23.9 million in flood mitigation funding

RELATED: Repairs almost complete to Sumas Dike in Abbotsford with $1.6M in provincial funding

Chief Alice Thompson of Leq’á:mel First Nation said the framework brings the partners together in “an innovative approach founded in a respect for and recognition of our Indigenous rights, both as individual First Nations and as a collective.”

Chief Alice McKay of Matsqui First Nations said they are pleased with the “actions that are being taken.”

“Environmental events do not discriminate in their destruction, and we must all work together now to ensure we are better prepared to support our emergency responders for the next test Mother Nature chooses to put in front of us,” she said.

Abbotsford Mayor Ross Siemens and Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove also expressed their gratitude towards all the parties working together to rebuild from the 2021 floods and to better prepare for future events.


The province has designated $5.28 million to the following projects:

• Matsqui Prairie-McClennan Creek – repair erosion and damage to the creek slope and embankments;

• Clayburn Creek – engineering study on mitigation measures;

• Ivy Court – repair to slope erosion as required;

• Cariboo Court – repair to slope erosion and damage to property adjacent to the creek;

• Ash Street – repairs to slope and the storm sewer;

• McKee Road – slope repair and stabilization; material and debris removal;

• Mount Lehman Cemetery – slope repair, erosion control measures, and debris removal;

• Latimer Road – road and slope repairs; material and debris removal; and

• Sumas Dike, multiple sites – material and debris removal; dike repairs.

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Vikki Hopes

About the Author: Vikki Hopes

I have been a journalist for almost 40 years, and have been at the Abbotsford News since 1991.
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