Completion of New Dikes to Improve Public Safety
The final portion of diking designed to provide flood protection for Duncan and the Koksilah industrial and business complex area is now complete thanks to $4.133 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).
The project provides five new diking sections that now complete the comprehensive flood infrastructure system along the Cowichan River and are designed to protect against high velocity and deep water flooding. Totalling just over 2 km in length, the new dikes will protect the regional commercial core from flooding up into the Duncan area as well as south of the river through the industrial lands where both industries and critical groundwater reserves are now protected. The diking’s integrated program protects the communities of Duncan, Cowichan Tribes, North Cowichan and Cowichan Bay and provides substantial benefit to fisheries and biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
Funds came from the federal government’s Building Canada Fund, provincial government’s Flood Protection Program and local governments, with each level of government contributing equal amounts of funding.
The lower Cowichan floodplain covers one of the region’s major urban centres and includes substantial portions of the region’s population as well as much of its critical infrastructure and social capital including medical facilities, schools, cultural centre and longhouses, fire hall, ambulance station, RCMP office and the Sportsplex. Recent flooding in the area demonstrated immediate impact to the community, resulting in flooded homes and long-term economic and social impacts.
- Under the Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund, federal and provincial governments provide up to two-thirds of the funding for eligible project costs, with local governments and diking authorities covering the remainder of project funding.
- In November 2009, the area experienced a flood with a relatively low one-in-seven return but triggered concern around the need to protect the regional sewage treatment facility and residential areas.
- The CVRD has one of the first Integrated flood management strategies developed in Canada that takes into consideration both the protection of communities, ecological restoration and climate impacts in an integrated fashion.