Siebring wants “comprehensive strategy” to deal with ongoing flooding – Cowichan Valley Citizen


North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said he was frustrated the Chemainus River overflowed its banks again during heavy flooding in the area on November 15.

Speaking to council on Nov. 17, Siebring said the greatest impacts of flooding in the municipality were felt on Halalt First Nation lands and on the Russell Farm, both adjacent to the Chemainus River, when the Water overflowed from the river banks after the record rainfall. .

He pointed out that the Chemainus River falls under provincial and federal jurisdiction, and North Cowichan sent a letter to the province after the last major river flooding in 2020, which also inundated the same areas, warning it would happen again.

Siebring said that while some help was provided by upper levels of government after the last flood, what was seen in the region after the heavy rains on November 15 was a clear illustration that more needed to be done.

“I spoke to families who operated a farm in this area decades ago and they told me that there used to be regular maintenance where the gravel bar from the river was dredged to bring back the the river bottom down, meaning high water levels didn’t easily overflow its banks, ”Siebring said.

“We still need it. Right now we are facing these issues every few years and we have to move heaven and earth to get all the approvals required to do the job on a one-time basis only, and we have to apply for the same permissions and go through them. same regulatory processes a few years later.

Siebring said a more comprehensive strategy to deal with the flooding issues of the Chemainus River and other rivers under the municipality’s jurisdiction is needed.

“It is an ongoing problem and climate change is not improving,” he said.

“I look forward to having discussions with senior levels of government on this issue in the weeks and months to come. “

But Siebring said North Cowichan had suffered less damage than the severe destruction seen in other parts of the province due to rains and flooding, and acknowledged the intense pressure the provincial government will face to rebuild in those areas. regions.

“Our hearts are with our provincial counterparts as they face these latest pressures, which add to a myriad of other crises, including opioids, housing, summer wildfires and, of course, the current COVID-19 situation, ”he said.

“I also want to urge our community not to overreact [to the ongoing crisis related to the flooding], to be calm and supportive. There will be supply chain issues, but now is not the time to hoard. We have a good local supply of food. Check your neighbors and share supplies with them as needed.

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Floods in BC 2021


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