Anyone who has had their property or possessions affected by flooding understands the enormous short and long-term damage these events can cause.
And with several floods in its history, the City of Courtenay is looking ahead to ways the community can adapt to or mitigate the risk of future occurrences though an Integrated Flood Management Study.
The draft recommendations from the study will be presented at a community workshop on Jan. 30 at the Westerly Hotel and Convention Centre. The doors open at 6 p.m., with the presentation and questions starting at 6:15, followed by an informal discussion from 7 to 8.
Derek Richmond, the City’s manager of engineering, says the session will provide an opportunity for the public to give specific comments on key recommendations from the study, as well as discuss remaining issues and review next steps.
“Public input is an important part of the process,” noted Richmond. “Flood management is a big issue with a broad range of solutions, and this study is going to provide us with major goals and strategies to guide us into the future.”
The study area includes the Courtenay Estuary and River, including the “flats,” to Dove Creek Bridge on the Tsolum River, and the BC Hydro dam on the Puntledge River.
The provincial and federal government have partnered through the Flood Protection Program and Building Canada Plan to provide two-thirds of the funding for this project, which will take a detailed look at historic flooding concerns.
Along with the Integrated Flood Management Study, the project includes an update to the City’s floodplain mapping. In addition to public information sessions, consultation has included the Comox Valley Regional District, provincial and federal agencies, and the K'ómoks First Nation.
The flood management study project has been underway since May 2012.
The study includes flood mitigation strategies to reduce current risks, and also establishes new flood construction levels, defining the minimum elevations at which a structure can be built. As required by provincial policy, the work takes gradual sea level rise into consideration, reviewing conceptual changes in 2100 and 2200.
Richmond says the work will help shape development in the area for decades to come.
“The policies we establish now will have a big impact on the future evolution of the City,” he noted. “It’s important that we review our options very carefully to ensure we strike the right balance in protecting the ecological, economic and cultural values of the river and floodplain.”
For more information, contact the City’s engineering division at 250-334-4441 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
— City of Courtenay