Port Coquitlam is looking to upgrade disaster prevention measures at two local creeks and calling on the federal government to help foot nearly half the bill.
A motion to request $4 and $5.6 million in federal funding for drainage pump projects at Cedar Drive and Maple Creek respectively was unanimously approved by Port Coquitlam council at a meeting on June 27.
“We have increasing needs to upsize the pump stations with climate change,” said Melony Burton, Port Coquitlam’s manager of infrastructure planning, at the meeting. “We’re seeing increased rainfall, and intense rainfalls, which is putting more pressure on the systems that we already have.”
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Specifically, Burton added, both Maple and Hyde Creek flow into two major rivers: the Coquitlam River and Pitt River.
When the water is high, the existing flood blocks at both creeks close and the only way to remove water is through a pump station.
“Failure to pump will result in localized flooding,” Burton said, pointing to floods that occurred throughout the Port Coquitlam watershed during the 2021 atmospheric storm events.
Upgrades to the Cedar Drive Drainage Pump Station, which was originally built in 1980 and received electrical upgrades in 2012, is estimated to cost $10 million.
The 33-year-old pump station at Maple Creek, on the other hand, is expected to cost around $14 million.
Municipal governments, the city wrote in a recent report, are entitled to receive a maximum of 40 per cent of federal funding through the Infrastructure Canada Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.
Burton said at the June 27 meeting that the city received letters of support for the pump projects from Ron McKinnon, Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam MP, and Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth.
A number of streamkeepers and Fisheries and Oceans Canada also voiced support for the projects, Burton added.
Last year, Port Coquitlam also submitted two applications for grant funding through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. Those applications — which would have jumpstarted the Maple Creek pump project and a culvert replacement at Burns Road — were unsuccessful.
Mayor Brad West, however, said at the meeting last week that he was cautiously optimistic that the new grants would be approved.
“This is the second kick at the can,” West said. “Now all that’s required is for [the federal government] to make good on their stated commitments to support communities doing these types of projects.”
If approved, a detailed design of the Maple Creek drainage pump will be released sometime later this year. The city expects construction to start in 2024.
A design plan for the Cedar Drive drainage pump will be released in 2024, with construction anticipated to start one year later.