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$2.9M price tag for flood of 2003

Last fall's massive flooding has left $1.9 million worth of damage in its wake so far, with another million dollars of work still to be done, according to a District of Squamish report.

Last fall's massive flooding has left $1.9 million worth of damage in its wake so far, with another million dollars of work still to be done, according to a District of Squamish report.

The report also says that dikes on the Squamish River in Brackendale would have been overflowing had the flood been a one-in-200-year event as opposed to a one-in-100-year.

"The cost of the emergency response and repair work qualify for reimbursement from the Province of British Columbia under the Provincial Emergency Program with a few exceptions, such as GST portion, and later recovery works which are only funded to 80 per cent by the province," said a report prepared by district staff on the flood costs. "A number of consulting engineering firms were engaged by the District to assist in the necessary inspections, investigations, assessments and repairs that were immediately required."

The staff report notes that in the past, when floodwaters forced evacuations, the former Ministry of Environment (MOE) took a lead role in coordinating the response and the recovery afterwards. In December of 2003, the MOE became the Ministry of Water, Land and Air protection. The new ministry was relieved of the responsibility to care for communities under flood.

Nine flood repair projects have taken place so far and 10 separate investigation, assessment and survey projects have been completed.

According to district staff, another $175,000 is needed to complete work relating to flood recovery that was started but not completed.

On top of that three more repair jobs proposals were sent to the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) for funding consideration. Six additional survey and impact assessment packages are in the process of being sent to PEP for consideration.

The total value of the work waiting to be started and awaiting funding from PEP totals $855,100.The three repair jobs awaiting PEP funding are key to the local dike system. The most expensive job, at an estimated cost of $167,000, involves shoring up the Squamish River bank protection in the middle of Judd Slough.

The other two projects are dike improvement initiatives down stream of Eagle Run and downstream of the Cheakamus River Bailey bridge.

The total price tag for completed work and work that is awaiting funding is $2.9 million.

Through the investigations into the needed flood work, staff found that backup power to the district's pumping system is an issue.

"The District's response plan currently includes the mobilization of major portable pumping capacity and generators as backup to existing stations," the staff report states. "It is likely, upon completion of the assessments on internal drainage and pump stations, that upgrades will be recommended to the existing stations including backup power provisions."

In the report, which was authoured by former DOS director of operations Derek Weatherbee, it was stressed that the magnitude of the storm in October was significant.

"The flow experienced in the Squamish River at Brackendale was the largest flow recorded since the beginning of record in 1922 and that the estimated peak flow anticipated between a 100-year return period flood and further that the increase in flow anticipated between a 100-year and 200-year event would likely result in overtopping of the dikes in the areas of concern," Weatherbee wrote.

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