British Columbia

Abbotsford city staff to present options for flood mitigation in Sumas Prairie

Staff with the City of Abbotsford are set to present a report to city council outlining options to address flood mitigation in the Sumas Prairie, an area devastated by floods late last year.

Options range in costs from $209 million to nearly $2.797 billion

Abbotsford's Barrowtown Pump Station pictured with sandbags in a photo posted to the city's Twitter account on Nov. 21, 2021. On Monday, flood mitigation options will be presented to Abbotsford city council that will include enhancements to the pump station. (City of Abbotsford/Twitter)

Staff with the City of Abbotsford will present a report to city council outlining options to address flood mitigation in the Sumas Prairie, an area devastated by floods late last year.

A presentation set to go to council Monday will outline a number of options to build infrastructure to reduce the impact of flooding.

One option is a $209-million plan that includes enhancements to the Barrowtown Pump Station, which was nearly swamped by floodwaters.

Another option would include enhancements to the Barrowtown station as well as building a new Sumas River pump station, at an estimated cost of $1.297 billion.

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Two other options also meet provincial flood protection guidelines, the city notes: one features an added floodway and storage area, enhancements to the Barrowtown Pump Station and a new Sumas River pump station.

The other includes an added narrow floodway, enhancements to Barrowtown Pump Station, a new Sumas River pump station and more new pump stations. Both options have a price tag in excess of $2.4 billion. 

The city said in a statement that residents, businesses and neighbouring governments will have the chance to learn more about each option and share their feedback in the months ahead.

Conversations with Semá:th, Màthexwi and Leq'á:mel First Nations leadership, have begun according to the city. Provincial and federal governments, the City of Chilliwack, Fraser Valley Regional District and officials in Washington state will also be consulted.

Last month, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said he is "optimistic" after the governments of Washington state and British Columbia announced a cross-border proposal to develop a new flood prevention and response plan for the Nooksack River.

The city in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver was significantly affected by floods in November, with hundreds forced to flee their homes and billions of dollars in damage to farms in the low-lying Sumas Prairie area of the city.

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