B.C. municipalities pass resolution for salmon-safe flood control

·2 min read

B.C. municipalities are pushing the federal and provincial governments for better flood-control infrastructure that doesn’t damage fish habitat or restrict access to recreational sites.

In a Feb. 19 vote, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities executive endorsed resolution NR16, Flood Risk Mitigation Through Green Infrastructure and Natural Assets, which calls for the restoration and protection of salmon habitat compromised by outdated flood control systems.

The resolution notes the side channels, tributaries and sloughs of B.C.’s large rivers hold deep value to First Nations, in addition to providing exceptional recreational fishing, boating and swimming sites that may no longer be safe or accessible.

Submitted by the Lower Mainland Local Government Association, the resolution specifically asks the two higher levels of government to fund and incorporate nature-based solutions for effective flood management while still maintaining the recreational, cultural and ecological benefits of these sites.

The non-profit Watershed Watch Salmon Society campaigned heavily in favour of the resolution.

They released a statement calling the resolution’s potential impact a win-win-win for B.C. salmon, local jobs and flood mitigation.

“This decision helps hold the province accountable on this issue,” the statement reads. “Last summer, the Select Standing Committee on Finance recommended fish considerations when upgrading for floods as part of the province’s 2021 budget. This UBCM vote demonstrates the growing concern of British Columbians for struggling wild Pacific salmon and underlines the Province’s responsibility to invest in flood solutions that consider fish and their habitats.”

The resolution will now be sent to the governments for their response.

Resolution NR16 builds on a resolution passed in 2018, Resolution B119 – Upgrade Flood Infrastructure to Consider Fish and Access to Fish Habitat.

The UBCM executive cast their votes Feb. 19 in a special session to address remaining resolutions from the September AGM, held virtually due to the pandemic.

Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View