Three levels of government were at Chilliwack city hall Tuesday to announce $2.34 million in upgrades to the city's dike system.
Funding of $780,000 each comes from the federal government's Economic Action Plan, the province's Flood Protection Program (FPP) and the city.
"This is really good news for the City of Chilliwack," Mayor Sharon Gaetz said.
"A flood or a failure of the dikes would be catastrophic beyond belief," Les said, adding that the dike system protect approximately $1 billion worth of infrastructure.
The FPP is a $100 million fund to be delivered over 10 years that sees the federal and provincial government provide two-thirds of funding for eligible projects, and local governments or diking authorities covering the remainder.
The FPP was established after the 2007 freshet that threatened Chilliwack. That year, a combination of factors led to dire warnings that the city's dike system could be breached.
"We were all very concerned and actually missed a catastrophic event," Les said Tuesday. "It certainly served notice that we need to improve the diking infrastructure."
Dike upgrades will be carried out from the Wing Dike to Hope River and from Orchard Slough to McDonald Road. Young Road sits on top of the dike and this portion will be raised by as much as one metre in sections.
"About five years ago, the design flood level was changed due to revised modelling and ever since that we have been raising the dike system," said David Blain, director of engineering for the city.
Blain said the project was part of a $30-million local program, adding that there are areas that still need work, for example, in Greendale.
As part of the dike work on Young Road north of the Hope Slough, Gaetz said the road would be widened from eight metres to 10 metres to allow for bike lanes.
An engineer will be hired in January and construction will likely begin in a year so the upgrades won't be in place before the 2013 freshet.
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