North Cowichan is applying for funding from the Union of B.C. Municipalities to help with a $1.9-million project to ease flooding problems on Canada Avenue. (File photo)

North Cowichan pursues new flood mitigation plan for Canada Avenue

Municiplaity applies for $750,000 for $1.9 million project from UBCM

The flooding on Canada Avenue that has plagued motorists each winter for years may soon be significantly reduced with a new project by North Cowichan.

Council gave staff the green light at its meeting on Nov. 6 to move forward with a proposal for a $1.9-million project that would include the construction of a new flood gate system across Canada Avenue and raising sections of the roadway near the RCMP detachment which should avoid the nearly annual problems with localized flooding on the roadway.

RELATED STORY: BUSINESSES FRUSTRATED BY CANADA AVENUE FLOOD CLOSURE IN DUNCAN

Clay Reitsma, North Cowichan’s senior manager of engineering, said in a staff report that staff had originally proposed a $412,000 project to raise the north-bound lane to match the elevation of the south-bound lane, with the design starting in 2019.

That project was intended to prevent the road from being flooded during routine rainfall events.

But Reistma said in the meantime, the Union of BC Municipalities has recently announced a new flood-funding intake for its Community Emergency Preparedness Fund that will finance up to $750,000 of flood mitigation infrastructure.

He said that in light of UBCM’s announcement, staff took the opportunity to consider whether there was merit in cancelling the original project and creating a new project to enable the municipality to apply to the UBCM for funding.

“Staff immediately made the determination that there was merit for the application despite the lack of notice,” Reitsma said.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN WARNS LOCALIZED FLOODING EXPECTED IN SOME AREAS

Reitsma said that as a result, the consultant selection for the original project was put on hold and a new project was conceived, called the Canada Ave. Flood Gate, Road and Drainage Upgrade Project.

He said the completion of the project would further improve the 200-year flood protection for the urban core area with the construction of a new flood gate system across Canada Avenue where there currently is no protection except to install sandbags or a concrete barrier system on an ad hoc basis.

“Staff are proposing that the City of Duncan help fund this project and the city’s senior staff have been consulted on the funding application, but we have yet to agree on a co-funding amount,” Reitsma said.

Reitsma said he’s proposing that Duncan pay 17.6 per cent of the amount expected of the municipalities if the UBCM gives the green light to North Cowichan’s funding, while the municipality would be responsible for 82.4 per cent of the municipalities’ share.

RELATED STORY: SOME ROADS RE-OPENED AFTER FLOODING, CLOSURES IN COWICHAN

He said that means North Cowichan would be responsible for approximately $1 million of the total cost of the project if all the other funding comes through.

It’s expected that North Cowichan will receive a response to its funding request from the UBCM by Jan. 25 as to how much, if any, funding will be awarded for the project.

Council decided to support the grant application and directed staff to cancel the original upgrade proposed for Canada Avenue and adjust budgets accordingly to support the Canada Ave. Flood Gate, Road and Drainage Upgrade Project.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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