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Abbotsford flood protection plans ranging from $200M to $2.8B head to council

Click to play video: 'Four options set before Abbotsford city council to mitigate flooding' Four options set before Abbotsford city council to mitigate flooding
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun shares the latest on flood recovery efforts in his city – Apr 3, 2022

Abbotsford council is slated to hear a suite of options to better protect the city from future catastrophic floods when it meets on Monday.

The four options involve varying degrees of upgrades, with potential costs ranging from $209 million to $2.8 billion.

The city says the mitigation plans were developed with the help of engineering consulting firm Kerr Wood Leidal in the wake of November’s devastating floods, which inundated the Sumas Prairie and caused at least $100 million in damage.

Read more: Abbotsford, B.C. lifts final evacuation order, but warns of disaster if dikes aren’t updated

The first option would keep flood plans as they are, but involve an upgrade to the Barrowtown Pump Station, which works year-round to drain water from the Sumas Prairie, a former lake bottom. The city estimates this work would cost $209 million.

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Option two includes the same Barrowtown upgrade, along with the construction of a new Sumas River pump station, at an estimated cost of $1.297 billion.

Proposed option #3. City of Abbotsford

The third option includes the work in option one and two, along with added floodway and storage area. The city would upgrade existing dikes and add new dikes to protect the Huntingdon neighbourhood and area east of Saar Creek, but would leave Sumas Prairie West as an unprotected flood plain. This option is estimated to cost $2.497 billion.

The fourth and most ambitious plan proposes incorporating the work from options one to three, along with the construction of three pump stations in Sumas Prairie West and the addition of a narrow floodway through the construction of new dikes on both sides of the Sumas River and along the U.S. border. This option is estimated to cost $2.797 billion.

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Proposed option #4. City of Abbotsford

“Due to increased weather events and impacts from climate change, more flood events could occur if improvements are not made,” the city said in a media release.

“The City of Abbotsford needs to take immediate action to implement a solution within our municipality so that our community is not as significantly impacted when future weather events occur.”

The city said it will consult with residents, businesses, First Nations and other governments about each of the four options and their implications.

Read more: B.C. flooding: More than 180 in Abbotsford rescued by water and air

It said it has also reached out proactively to Sumas Prairie residents who may have concerns about the proposals’ impact on their property.

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The November floods saw the evacuation of more than 3,300 people from more than 1,100 properties in Abbotsford when Washington state’s Nooksack River topped its banks and sent water streaming north into Abbotsford.

Floodwaters forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway and resulted in the deaths of thousands of livestock animals.

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