Courtenay council pursuing ring dyke for flood mitigation

Courtenay council voted Monday to submit a grant application to Emergency Management of B.C. to build a ‘ring dyke’ to protect the Lewis Centre and surrounding commercial lands in the event of a flood.

Grant money would cover two-thirds of the project, estimated to cost nearly $3.9 million, which means the City would need to borrow more than $1 million, subject to public approval.

A ring dyke structure combines berms and elevated sidewalks that would provide once-in-200-years flood protection, in accordance with Provincial Diking Authority standards, to an area of land with a combined property value of $36 million.

The area includes the LINC Youth Centre and Lewis Centre, regional district offices on Comox Road, and various industrial and commercial premises around Puntledge and Ryan roads.

The ring dyke would also maintain an emergency response route between east and west Courtenay by protecting the Old Island Highway and Ryan Road between Fifth Street and Highway 19A.

Construction is proposed for three phases, beginning this year and concluding in early 2015.

In March, McElhanney Consulting presented an animation illustrating the proposed Tsolum River Flood Wall, which would offer flood protection only up to a 1:50 year level.

Last month, Don Castleden and Wayne White of the Estuary Working Group branch of Project Watershed suggested a flood relief-only option for a floodway through to the Comox Bay Farm.

Castleden and White are concerned how a ring dyke or flood wall tries to block water through physical structures.

Maple Pool Campsite and K’ómoks First Nation land upstream of the proposed structures are a couple of places they fear could be affected by these options.

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