A flood warning sign put at the entrance to the Rotary Trails at the corner of 7 Ave and Wardle St. reads ‘flood warning, do not enter, district of hope’ in 2018. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard file)

Hope at risk of flood damage without better protection

District moving ahead with application for flood mitigation study funds

Work is needed to protect Hope from future potential flooding, a recent District of Hope staff report states.

But before that work can start, a study has to be completed — at a cost of $150,000. The 20-page staff report is an overview of a grant application to the province, and outlines the urgent need for the work to get started.

The application is to the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund and includes a breakdown of the costs, including the creation of a numerical hydraulic model of the local river system.

Council quickly approved the application unanimously at last Monday’s meeting. But in the absence of a grant approval, staff is also urging council to direct funds to the study.

Of note, they report there are 200 potentially affected properties along the Coquihalla River, which in total are worth about $80 million.

“Even if a fraction of this is ever impacted by severe flooding, there could be a significant financial shortfall to both the District of Hope and the Province of B.C.,” the District’s grant application underlines. “The District of Hope does not have sufficient resources to respond to floods, on the size and scale predicted.”

READ MORE: River flooding part of Hope history

The current system in place also does not meet the Province’s 200-year flood rules, and put those properties and other infrastructure in the community at risk. The funding would lead to the improvement of Hope’s flood protection plan and dikes.

“Without the appropriate level of funding, the District of Hope many not be able to respond to a major flood event.”

More than 40 homes were put under evacuation alert in May 2018 in areas around Hope, and in 2012, a special gabion basket dam system was put in place in an effort to stop overland flooding. It ran 400m, along Seventh Avenue and Wardle Street.

Fraser Health wrote a letter in support of the grant application, noting that some of thier sites are located along the western edge of the Coquihalla River and could be affected by flooding, including the Fraser Canyon Hospital and the Fraser Hope Lodge.

The report says that to not fund this study would put Hope at risk.

“Without taking appropriate and adequate flood defense and control measures, the community and the public infrastructure are at greater risk,” it states.

Hope’s CAO John Fortoloczky says they may not hear back on the province’s decision to fund the study until the fall of 2020. He said when the decision is made, they will inform the council and public.

READ MORE: Diking system tested in Hope


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