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RDEK receives provincial funds for flood readiness

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) will receive $2.15 million to move ahead with several flood preparedness projects.

This comes as the B.C. government invests about $39 million for over 50 local disaster-risk reduction and climate-adaptation projects across the province.

“The climate crisis is here and we need communities to adapt and strengthen their defences against flooding and other extreme-weather events,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “We are working with local governments and First Nations to reduce disaster risk and better prepare people and communities for the impacts of climate change.”

The projects are categorized into three groups: category 1 (C1), category 2 (C2) and category 3 (C3).

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C1 includes foundational activities such as risk mapping and assessments, and planning; C2 involves non-structural activities including land-use planning, community education and equipment purchases; and C3 includes small-scale structural activities.

The RDEK will use its funding to pay for two initiatives: the Hosmer and Mine Creek assessment and mitigation-options guidance project, and phase three of the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project.

“The Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project in the Fairmont Hot Springs community will construct a large barrier and basin to contain debris from a 100- to 300-year flooding event and maximize the debris-storage capacity,” said B.C. government officials. “Previous hazard and risk assessments found a high risk for property damage and loss of life from debris flow and floods from Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek. This project will reduce the risks of debris flood and debris flow in the community and keep people safer.”

B.C. government officials said the money comes from the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) to help local and Indigenous governments complete projects aimed at disaster and emergency risk reduction.

The province is also launching its new B.C. Flood Strategy, aimed at guiding flood preparedness and mitigation work until 2035.

“After decades of piecemeal approaches to flood management, we have worked with communities to develop B.C.’s first integrated vision for provincial flood preparedness so we can keep people safe,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “The new B.C. Flood Strategy will guide our continued work with First Nations, local government agencies, the agricultural sector, industry and conservation organizations, as we take actions to reduce flood risk. Together, we can build stronger communities that are resilient to flood hazards in a changing climate.”

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