New Brunswick

City of Fredericton invites residents to share ideas about flood mitigation

The City of Fredericton is asking residents how it can better adapt to future flooding.

City will host 2 meetings for people to give their thoughts on how to deal with spring flooding

Homes in Fredericton were evacuated this spring after the city was hit by a second flood in two years. (Stephen MacGillivray/Canadian Press)

The City of Fredericton is asking residents how it can better adapt to future flooding.

After listening to stories of the anxiety many people dealt with after two years of flooding, Mayor Mike O'Brien suggested staff hold a series of public meetings this summer. There, residents will be able to talk about what can be done to protect their homes and local infrastructure if another major flood occurs. 

"We've had two major floods in the last two years and two of the highest floods we've ever had, so people are anxious and it impacts our community," said O'Brien at Monday night's council-in-committee meeting, 

"Not only people's properties and neighbourhoods, but traffic and business disruption … we've got to find solutions."

Fredericton Mayor Mike O'Brien hopes to create a public discussion on what to do about spring floods. (Gary Moore/CBC)

The first meeting will be held on July 30 at the Fredericton Convention Centre from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.  A second meeting will take place Aug. 15 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ramada Inn. The city will add a third meeting if there is enough interest.

Sean Lee, assistant director of engineering, said the city is already adapting to flooding. It's built bigger culverts and storm water pipes to handle more water, and has raised some roadways.

Ice jams and open-water are the main types of spring floods along the St. John River. 1:35

The city has also adopted development standards and zoning rules that require new buildings and roads be at least nine metres above river level.

Residents voicing concerns

City staff is already looking into ways it can adapt to flooding such as, raising roads and upgrading culverts. (Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press)

People can sign up on the city's website to give a ten-minute presentation at one of the two public meetings.

"The intention is to go out there and get as much information possible," said Lee.

"The more information we have around flooding will help us answer the questions more, and help us build a better plan going forward."

Staff will take that information and compile a report on what can be done to adapt to future flooding. 

Lee said the plan is to have that plan ready by fall. This will allow council to add any immediate responses to the 2020 budget.

Finding the money 

The city will try and get funding from both the province and the federal government, to adapt to future flooding. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

O'Brien said the city will be able to pay for some of the adjustments through its budget, but other levels of government will need to chip in.

He said the city will talk with the federal and provincial governments about potential funding to pay for some of the action items out of the report.

"Those are always ongoing," said O'Brien. "Our staff are continually in conversation with them, but I haven't got any information that there's a decision coming by a certain date."

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.

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