Record rain that soaked Port Coquitlam in mid-November, causing road and trail closures, has prompted a stock-taking of flood and extreme weather preparedness.
In the new year, Port Coquitlam city staff will compile a report on flood protection, as well as proactive and planned actions necessary to protect homes in the next big rain event.
Among the decisions to be made, public works manager Dave Kidd told city council Tuesday (Dec. 14), is whether capital projects should be accelerated to replace the Cedar Drive and Maple Creek pump stations as well as work to eliminate water inflow to sanitary sewers in the Liverpool neighbourhood.
"The unprecedented nature highlighted the challenges in these areas," said Kidd.
Kidd told council the Nov. 14-30 rain events caused by a series of atmospheric rivers dumped 566 mm of rain — that's more than three times the monthly average of 166 mm.
He also said staff worked 24 hours a day to deal with a number of tasks before, during and after the rainstorms.
HUNDREDS OF CALLS DURING RAIN STORM
More than 200 service calls were dealt with during the time period, including the delivery of sandbags to hard-hit areas.
While acknowledging the damage the floods caused homes, farms and businesses in the Fraser Valley, several councillors said Port Coquitlam was relatively undamaged given how much rain fell in such a short period of time.
"There’s no denying a lot of Port Coquitlam is on a flood plain, we are doing the best we can, and staff are doing an incredible job by looking at things and what we can work on," said Coun. Nancy McCurrach.
Council was told public works staff regularly inspects Coquitlam River dikes. "It's one of the proactive services we do," said Kidd.
As well, he said staff are in regular contact with BC Hydro, the City of Coquitlam and B.C. emergency personnel when big rain storms hit to monitor river levels and ensure emergency plans are in place.
Coquitlam even supplied a vacuum truck to assist, Kidd said.
GRANT MONEY NEEDED
Coun. Laura Dupont suggested costs incurred during extreme weather events, such as the recent rainstorm and the summer heat dome, be collected to present to the federal and provincial governments when grant money is being handed out.
More specifically: flood prevention.
"So we can make a compelling case to provincial and federal governments should they decide to send money our way."
While pump stations and sewers aren't the most exciting topics for taxpayers, councillors noted that they are among the basic services the city has to provide.
Ensuring city infrastructure can handle extreme events created by climate change is a key goal, Mayor Brad West said.
Coun. Darrell Penner agreed.
"This is about as basic as you can get, having sewer and water flowing and without flooding, its pretty much paramount of anything that goes on in the city," he said.