Funding will pay for improved flood protection in Courtenay

The City of Courtenay has received government funding for a project to improve flood protection.

The City of Courtenay has received government funding for a project to improve flood protection.

City manager of engineering Derek Richmond said the $470,000 from federal and provincial governments will be used to evaluate, design and construct new flood protection structures along Lewis Park.

The evaluation and design components will start this year with arial photography and floodplain mapping studies.

“We need to do the preliminary work before we end up putting concrete in the ground,” said Richmond. “Then we can re-evaluate what the design may look like, then from there move, in 2013, to implement something in terms of real construction work.”

Three flood protection measures are already in place along the lower reaches of the Courtenay basin including the Condensory Dike on the Puntledge River built in 2006, and two structures along the Courtenay River at Lewis Park, built in the ’70s.

Roads were closed in the immediate vicinity of Lewis Park in early 2010 when the area flooded, and flood warnings for the area are not unusual during winter storms.

The last floodplain mapping study was completed in 1990, and Richmond said the new study will be helpful in the long term, including predicting how climate change may impact the floodplain.

“It’ll help us to be more proactive in terms of potential flooding events; we will be able to actually see what might happen in the Courtenay area, where we need to apply resources, how we can better respond to — in an earlier measure — flood events that might be coming down the road,” said Richmond.

He also said the study will help the City determine what other work needs to happen in the future to protect the area from flooding.

“It will help us look at the bigger picture for the long-term, and very likely there will be more flood mitigation work that will be required down the road,” Richmond added.