Public engagement sessions result in work this fall to help reduce the impact of flooding in neighbourhoods

After listening to residents this summer in the two public engagement sessions, the City of Fredericton is moving ahead with implementing infrastructure upgrades that will help reduce the impacts of river flooding in some neighbourhoods in Fredericton. 

Some neighbourhoods are impacted by river flooding through water backing up in the city’s storm sewer system. To help reduce the potential of flooding through municipal infrastructure, the City will strategically place valves this fall in select locations where the back-up of flood water through the municipal infrastructure can be reduced.

“The floods of 2018 and 2019 were of historic proportions and had a major impact on residents, businesses and municipal operations. We’re taking every reasonable measure we can in case of another repeat event in 2020,” according to Dylan Gamble, Director of Engineering and Operations. “We will be installing valves in various neighbourhoods, including Lower Saint Marys, Nashwaaksis, the downtown and the East Platt.”

The work will be completed before winter and is being funded through the federal gas tax fund. A valve, often called a duck bill valve, is made of a flexible material that prevents water from entering the storm system during floods. 

City staff members are also working on a comprehensive 8-year flood mitigation and resiliency plan that will include a series of projects funded, in part, through the federal government’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. The plan will be comprehensive and include strategies and ideas affecting a range of areas such as transportation networks, transit, storm water, drinking water, waste water systems and emergency response.

The 8-year plan will be informed by technical considerations as well as by what was heard from residents, business owners and community groups during community conversations on flooding held during the summer. “While flooding has always occurred in neighbourhoods located on the Saint John River flood plain, we can’t simply raise the city above past historic levels,” said Mr. Gamble. “We do think we can improve some of the situations we heard about from the many people who were impacted and who generously shared their experiences and ideas with us.”

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that flood resilience is built over time and meeting the challenge is complex and expensive,” said Mayor Mike O’Brien. “I’m looking forward to the engineering solutions being built this fall, and I’m confident staff will come up with a plan, based in part on feedback from our citizens, that will make Fredericton as resilient as it can be in the coming years and decades.”