A major flood of the Fraser River could do billions of dollars of damage to local communities and businesses, a 2016 study by the Fraser Basin Council found. (File photo)

A major flood of the Fraser River could do billions of dollars of damage to local communities and businesses, a 2016 study by the Fraser Basin Council found. (File photo)

Speed up flood preparedness project, Abbotsford urges

City makes funding of Fraser Basin Council project contingent on speeding up second phase of project

The group studying flooding in the Fraser Valley will have to speed up its work if it wants a piece of funding from the City of Abbotsford.

Council passed a motion Monday to tell the Fraser Basin Council (FBC) that if it wants the $20,000 requested of Abbotsford to help finish the second phase of flood management planning, it needs to complete that work within two years instead of three.

The FBC recently completed a major study on the risk posed by a major Fraser River flood. The next phase of work would look at potential solutions to address the flooding risks.

But the District of Kent, which governs Agassiz, has said it won’t fund that next stage as the solution – the removal of gravel bars – is already known.

Abbotsford hasn’t gone that far, but the city’s project management office director, Rob Isaac, told council the project could move quicker than planned.

“We want them to shorten up the time-frame of the study,” Isaac said. “It’s currently set at 3 years, we’d like to see it done quicker. The study has already been ongoing for a couple years and there are issues along the Fraser River that needs to be addressed.”

In response to a question from Coun. Dave Loewen, Isaac noted that the Abbotsford funding would be just a small portion of the study’s $2.5 million budget.

Mayor Henry Braun said he hopes the Abbotsford request, and a letter sent to Kent, would result in that municipality reconsidering its decision to withdraw funding.

Council also asked the FBC to decouple work on coastal sea level rise from Fraser River planning work “to acknowledge the priorities in the upper reach of the Fraser River.”

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