Ditch and stream-channel clearing, debris removal and revegetation projects in the South Peace following the mid-June floods got $2.5 million of assistance from the provincial government Oct. 7.
Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier said the work will hopefully lessen the impact of future flooding events.
“These flood events are happening a lot more often than anybody expected,” Bernier said.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources has put all of the permitting work for the projects at the top of the pile, so that work can be done before winter takes hold in the region.
The work will be done in the rural areas of the Peace River Regional District (PRRD).
“Now the people that live beside these creeks (don’t have to) worry,” said PRRD chair and mayor of Tumbler Ridge, Don McPherson. “It’s a terrible feeling when things start washing out, you’ve got to feel (for) people, especially in rural ares where you might be cut off from everybody,” he said.
In the days following the flood, the PRRD delivered supplies via helicopter including food, fuel and generators to some 200 stranded residents west of Chetwynd and southeast of Dawson Creek in places like Hasler, Doe River, Swan Lake, Tupper, Tate Creek and Kelly Lake.
As reported last month in the Dawson Creek Mirror, the province continues to look at replacing the 8th Street creek crossing with a bridge.
“The premier, when she was in Dawson Creek, recognized… that something needs to be done with that corridor,” Bernier said. While the latest work to restore the crossing will ensure that the road is safe for the short-term, long-term options are being developed within the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure that will include the replacement of the culverts.
Through the Flood Protection Program, the province, federal government and local communities have invested $173 million for mitigation projects since 2007.
The province estimates that the total cost of recovery from the damages caused by the June 2016 flood could reach close to $100 million.
Ministry of Transportation crews and contractors have been working since the flood took place to repair roads at a total cost of about $15 million so far.
All provincial highways have been reopened, except for the Rolla (Snake Pit) Road east of Dawson Creek. Last month the province said heavy rains have delayed work on this section of road. The province says it hopes to have this section of road fully open in the coming weeks.
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