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Pemberton gets flood money

Federal, provincial funds to help upgrade culvert on Pemberton Creek



Pemberton is getting a whack of dough to replace a culvert on Pemberton Creek.

The provincial government announced in a news release on Tuesday that three levels of government will be working together to fund a Pemberton Creek Dike Culvert Replacement project that is aimed at reducing the risk of flooding and offering "greater protection for the Pemberton Valley."

"This project will upgrade a culvert located on Pemberton Creek Dike approximately half a kilometre upstream of the confluence with Lillooet River," West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Joan McIntyre said in the news release.

"The outlet of the culvert will be fitted with a flap-gate and the surrounding area will be armored with rock rip-rap. The dike will be reassembled with the result being a safer, stronger and more reliable barrier to flooding."

The total cost of the project is $118,980, with the federal and provincial governments contributing $79,320 and the Pemberton Valley Dyking District (PVDD) putting up the remaining $39,660.

The money comes as part of a joint investment of $8.8 million from the governments of Canada and British Columbia through the Building Canada Plan. The dyking district applied for the money under Tier 1 of the program.

Jeff Westlake, the PVDD's operations manager, said he was happy with the news.

"Obviously it's good news," he said. "Given the cost of flood protection works, it's always good news to have some extra funding."

Westlake went on to say that the culvert itself is like a flood box with a flat gate on it that prevents the river from flowing inland. It's intended to replace a floodbox on the Pemberton Creek dyke that's located about half a kilometre upstream from the creek's confluence with the Lillooet River.

He said the funding is needed because the current culvert, installed in the 1980s, is made of corrugated metal, material that doesn't last very long.

"We've looked at re-aligning a number of culverts and we've also replaced a couple of culverts on the Miller-Lillooet dyke," Westlake said. "Whenever we do this, we strive to use product that's going to last a little longer."

Though helpful in one area of town, this funding doesn't take care of all the projects that Pemberton needs to take on to guard against flooding. One particular concern is woody debris and silt from the site of the Meager landslide, the second biggest in Canadian history, which struck Aug. 6 about 70 kilometres from the northern tip of the Pemberton Meadows.

The Village of Pemberton and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District have since engaged in talks with the province about an early warning system to help alert valley residents of landslide activity.

The dyking district is also looking for about $100,000 to do a baseline riverbed study to monitor how silt flowing out of the landslide area is impacting river levels.

Westlake said the latter project falls under Tier 3 of the funding for flood protection under Building Canada, and that the dyking district has already applied for a gravel removal project in the Lillooet River. He added discussions about an early monitoring system are ongoing.

"I would expect that in the near future, that the three authorities get together and discuss exactly what is going to be the best way to monitor it," Westlake said. "Whether it be an actual monitoring for a landslide or if we do that through monitoring river levels, river levels is probably going to be the best bang for the buck overall."

A public affairs officer with the Ministry of Environment said in an e-mail that the province is working with the VOP, SLRD and the dyking district to "find the best solutions" for addressing this issue.

"We are currently awaiting a proposal package from the local governments and will determine the next steps once we have had a chance to review it," she said.