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(Tara Friesen delivers Carey Point options to council on Tuesday)
With flooding once again a concern at Carey Point this year, Chilliwack City Council knew they had to move fast to help decide on a solution. Today, they made that decision. The City will foot out $110,000, and oversee construction of a check dam at Orchard Slough. The property owners at Carey Point will be responsible for construction and maintenance of a temporary berm structure. The province has come forward with $25,000 in funding, and the city will match, so residents will have $50,000 to go towards the berm, and the other $85,000 will go towards the dam. Northwest Hydraulic Consultants will be responsible for designing and signing off on construction of the dam, which will begin as soon as possible.
Assistant Manager of Environment Services Tara Friesen presented 3 options, ranging from the city paying $235,000 with no cost to the owners, to providing no funding at all. In the end, council chose the middle path.
“It’s probably not what residents were hoping for” said Councillor Ken Huttema “but given everything that’s happened in the past year, I think this is the best the city could come up with.”
Councillor Chuck Stam says “this is not just about protecting homes. This is about protecting 370 valuable acres of agricultural land. It’s an opportunity for us to put our money where our mouth is. I think this is a good investment of tax dollars.”
Mayor Sharon Gaetz says there had to be an acknowledgement by the residents that they live outside the dike protected area. She also says in a recent meeting with them, “a recommendation was made that they look closely at their farming practices, and determine what kind of crops are suitable for land that has the potential to flood on a yearly basis.”
There are 135 properties outside the dike area, and it was determined that 80 of them are privately owned.
A society will now be formed among the residents, who will accept the funding, and then proceed with planning the berm. In terms of how soon construction will start, all city staff will say is “as soon as possible.”