The Town of Hay River has received federal funding to study and then take steps to mitigate spring flooding on Vale Island, with a particular focus on this berm in the West Channel area.
NNSL file photo

The Town of Hay River has received federal funding to study and then take steps to mitigate spring flooding on Vale Island.

At the March 8 meeting of town council, Glenn Smith, the town’s senior administrative officer, said the municipality’s application to Climate Change Preparedness in the North has been approved for the flood mitigation project.

“So we’re just formalizing the agreement now,” he said. “But that will see approximately $220,000 that is intended to be used for studying and completion of mitigation work on the island, where it’s deemed to be appropriate.”

The money can be spent this fiscal year and in 2021-2022.

“It’s a bit rushed to try and get anything of significance completed ahead of this breakup, but we’re trying to see what we can do,” Smith told council. “We are meeting with our engineers on that topic.”

The funding comes from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

Speaking to The Hub on March 10, Smith said the funded project is titled Shoreline Flood Mitigation Enhancement for Vale Island.

Smith said the project will review flood patterns, control options, and construction activities that could be completed.

“So really the focus is on the state of the existing West Channel berm, which has seen some erosion occurring in some parts of the area and some settling,” he said, noting the study will include support from engineers and consultations with various groups.

“We will be looking at providing considerations for some other areas of Vale Island, but it’s really to be determined if any measures would be taken,” he added. “Certainly $220,000 we’re appreciative of, but it doesn’t go far when you talk about expanding or building new mitigation measures.”

Smith said that some minor activities might be completed before this year’s breakup, which is about six weeks away, but there is a regulatory process to go through for working along waterways.

“Some of those activities will have to wait until next year when we can invest the appropriate time into that,” he said.

The berm at West Channel is about 1.5 km long and about two metres high.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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