CHILLIWACK, BC, April 24, 2019 /CNW/ - Now more than ever, communities need help adapting to the frequent and intensifying weather events caused by climate change. Reducing the impact of natural disasters such as flooding is critical to keeping Canadian families safe, protecting local businesses and supporting a strong economy.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced funding for a flood mitigation project in the Fraser Valley.
The project involves constructing approximately 6 kilometres of new dikes along the Fraser River, a new flood gate structure crossing the Hope Slough and a new drainage pump station.
Once complete, this work will significantly reduce the risk of flooding in the Skwah First Nation, Shxwhá:y Village and the City of Chilliwack, improving public safety and protecting people's homes and businesses from water damage.
The Government of Canada is contributing $45 million to this project through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.
"Our investment in this critical dike and flood barrier project along the Fraser River will help ensure residents and businesses in Chilliwack, Shxwhá:y Village and the Skwah First Nation are protected from the heavy personal and economic costs of extreme weather events. Working together with our regional and First Nations partners, we are finding ways to keep people and their properties safe in the face of climate change while creating good middle-class jobs and supporting a strong economic future for our kids and grandkids."
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
"Extreme weather is becoming more severe, more frequent, more damaging and more expensive because of climate change. By investing in the infrastructure that protects our neighbourhoods, businesses, and families, we are building communities that can withstand future natural disasters and thrive for generations to come."
The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety
"With over 50km of dikes in Chilliwack, the City has a multi-year program to upgrade our dikes to meet the newest standard set by the Province. In addition to the generous funding from the Government of Canada, the City of Chilliwack will contribute $7 million to the project. This new dike will be a key part of the upgrade program and protect important infrastructure, not only within the City of Chilliwack, but also within Shxwhá:y Village and the Skwah First Nation. By working together we are able to accomplish so much more than we would individually, while helping to positively contribute to the local economy."
Mayor Ken Popove, City of Chilliwack
"In this time of reconciliation we are joining forces and working together in the spirit of cooperation to build a stronger safer community and environment, not just for ourselves but alongside our neighbors. It is the dawn of a new day where First Nations and Canadian citizens are putting their minds together to find a solution to common problems that affect all of us on this little blue planet we call home. Climate change has affected our lands and it is up to us to protect it. Let us join hands to build a better future for tomorrow and continue growing our relationship for future generations. Shxwhá:y Village is honored to be working together on such an important issue that strengthens our bond with the city of Chilliwack and the federal government."
Chief Robert Gladstone, Shxwhá:y Village
"Skwah First Nation is happy to work together with our neighbouring community Shxwhá:y, with the City of Chilliwack and the Government of Canada to protect our people. This has been a long time coming and by working together we can make all our communities safe and prosperous."
Chief Robert Combes, Skwah First Nation
- The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) is a $2-billion, 10-year program to help communities build the infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes and droughts.
- DMAF is part of the federal government's Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, which is providing more than $180 billion over 12 years for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and rural and northern communities
- Investing in green infrastructure that helps communities cope with the intensifying effects of climate change is an integral part of Canada's transition to a more resilient, low-carbon economy, which is among the commitments made under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
- Budget 2019, Investing in the Middle Class, is the federal government's plan to create more well-paying jobs, put home ownership within reach for more Canadians, help working people get the training they need to succeed, support seniors and lay the foundation for national pharmacare.
- With many municipalities across Canada facing serious infrastructure deficits, Budget 2019 includes a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion to the federal Gas Tax Fund to help address short-term priorities in municipalities and First Nations communities.
Canada helps protect communities along the Fraser River from flooding
Climate change is affecting Canadian communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Natural hazards and extreme weather – like floods, wild fires and storms – are increasing in frequency and intensity. For many communities, these hazards are significantly affecting critical infrastructure and can result in health and safety risks, interruptions in essential community services and increasingly high costs of recovery and replacement.
The Government of Canada's Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) is a 10-year, $2 billion national program designed to help communities better withstand current and future risks of natural hazards.
The federal government is investing $45 million from DMAF in a project to mitigate the effects of flooding from the Fraser River in Skwah First Nation, Shxwhá:y Village and the City of Chilliwack in British Columbia.
This project will improve the existing flood mitigation infrastructure by adding approximately 6 kilometers of new dikes, a new flood gate structure crossing the Hope Slough, and a drainage pump station. After its completion in 2025, the communities will have greater protection from floods.
As a result, Skwah First Nation has indicated that approximately 73,500 residents will be better protected against floods, which are expected to occur once every 10 to 30 years, once this project is completed.
Furthermore, Skwah First Nation estimates that these infrastructure improvements will reduce by 95% the number of families and businesses who go without essential services in the event of a disaster.
In addition, the project will significantly reduce impact and losses for the local economy, as well as saving on long-term recovery and replacement costs for the infrastructure.
Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/dmaf-faac/index-eng.html
Investing in Canada: Canada's Long-Term Infrastructure Plan:
Federal infrastructure investments in British Columbia: https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/investments-2002-investissements/bc-eng.html
Investing in Canada plan project map: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/gmap-gcarte/index-eng.html
Budget 2019, Investing in the Middle Class: https://www.budget.gc.ca/2019/home-accueil-en.html
SOURCE Infrastructure Canada
For further information: Ann-Clara Vaillancourt, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, 613-697-3778, [email protected], Media Relations, Infrastructure Canada, 613-960-9251, Toll free: 1-877-250-7154, Email: [email protected]