A plan to help build up flood resilience along Surrey’s coastlines received a $1.4-million nod from council Monday (Feb. 13).
According to a corporate report, the Nature-based Coastal Climate Adaptation Pilot Project – a “living dyke” to be built in Mud Bay and Boundary Bay – is part of “a comprehensive flood protection strategy that will seek to reduce Surrey’s vulnerability to coastal flooding and sea level rise.”
It is to be built immediately south of Highway 99, by Mud Bay Park and the Boundary Bay Dyke Trail; within Semiahmoo First Nation core territory and the traditional territories of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Sto:lo and Tsawwassen First Nations.
Asked by Coun. Doug Elford why it is a pilot project, city staff explained that three “nature-based” treatments are being piloted across seven acres, with the success to be measured over the course of a year.
Staff recommended council award the work to Tybo Contracting Ltd., whose bid was the lowest of four received. The highest tender came in at $3.1 million, while the pre-tender estimate was $2.326 million.
When mayor Brenda Locke questioned staff’s confidence in the lowest bid being the right choice, she was told that the difference was rooted in the contractors’ approach to the work. Tybo plans to work only during low tide, while others who bid on the work proposed building a dam of sorts that would enable them to work at all times but have a higher capital cost, they explained.
“Wonderful then. It’s environmentally sound all the way around,” Locke said.
According to the report, work on the pilot is expected to get underway this month and be completed in July 2023, with the majority of intertidal work to be wrapped up before April to align with the least-risk fisheries construction-work window.
A timeline at surrey.ca notes that if pilot studies and the city’s request for the province to exempt the project from an environmental assessment – public commenting is sought through Feb. 27, at projects.eao.gov.bc.ca – are successful, construction will occur from February 2024 through to June 2027.
Construction “aims to demonstrate a shoreline dyke that is protected by naturalized tidal marshes, consisting of brushwood bundles, sand berms, oyster shell bags, and tidal vegetation providing a natural barrier that will limit flood elevations and dissipate wave energy.”
Funding for the project – which was among 13 in Surrey that had been identified to benefit from more than $76 million in federal funding that was announced in May 2019 – is available in the proposed 2023 Drainage Budget, the report notes.
– with files from Tom Zytaruk
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