It’s not just dikes keeping Port Coquitlam safe from flooding.
This week, the city revealed it needs extensive work done on two big projects: a large culvert that is deteriorating and a 30-year-old pump on Maple Creek.
Both are seen as critical as rains continue to pound the city and climate change promises more heavy rain events in the future.
Port Coquitlam is seeking to replace a failing culvert located under Burns Road just north of Dominion Avenue at a cost of $1.8 million.
The critical piece of equipment is nearly 17 metres long and has already failed in some sections and needs to be replaced due to “significant deterioration,” according to the city.
Failure of the culvert would result in closing the road, which carries traffic between Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.
Temporary repairs have been made to extend the life of the pipe, but the city wants to replace the culvert next year.
AGING PUMP TOO SMALL AND DEADLY TO FISH
Across town, south of Kingsway Avenue near the Coquitlam River, an area prone to flooding, the city also wants to replace an aging pump on Maple Creek that is too small for the water flow and “deadly” to fish.
Environmentalists have long called for the replacement of the Maple Creek pump which closes during high water, preventing salmon from going upstream to spawn.
Replacing the 30-year-old pump with a new fish-friendly station, which would also include replacing the existing flap gate and inlet grill to allow fish passage, is expected to cost more than $3 million.
However, according to the city, upgrading the pump station is required to mitigate the impacts of climate change by providing additional capacity and flood protection for increased flows due to rain, storm events, and sea-level rise.
CONSTRUCTION IN 2023 FOR MAPLE CREEK PUMP
Detailed design is underway in 2021, while environmental permitting is planned for 2022 and construction to follow in 2023.
On Tuesday (Nov. 2), Port Coquitlam council announced it is seeking federal funding to help cover some of the costs and plans to flag the issue with newly re-elected MP Ron McKinnon.
The city is seeking $738,000 for the Burns Road culvert project and $1.2 million for the Maple Creek Drainage Pump Station project through the federal government’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation grant program.
"It’s certainly fair to expect we would get support from senior levels of government to bring this project to fruition," Mayor Brad West said during a council-in-committee meeting.
At least two councillors welcomed the projects.
Nancy McCurrach and Laura Dupont noted the Maple Creek pump is "deadly" for fish and upgrading it for fish passage is crucial to the environment in the area.
CLIMATE CHANGE COULD INCREASE FLOOD POTENTIAL
“We know it’s not safe for fish. In fact, it’s fatal to fish,” said Dupont, who also noted that salmon in the creek is also a “valuable cultural asset.”
The projects are important given flooding that has happened in the past and could increase due to climate change.
In January 2020, the Tri-Cities were lashed with torrential rains, resulting in localized flooding in several areas of the city.
The worst of the flooding hit near the banks of the Coquitlam River around Kingsway Avenue, where the new pump is needed, as well as along Cedar Drive, and along Coast Meridian Road near Hyde Creek.
- with a file from Stefan Labbé, Glacier Media