Several communities in B.C. will be benefiting from more reliable roadways and local jobs as a result of funding from StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. The new $20.7-million Climate Adaptation Program features a range of projects throughout the province that will increase the resiliency of the highway network and help lessen the adverse effects of climate change.
“One of the key threats to the reliability of the highway network is climate related, and examples include high-intensity rainfall events, extreme freshet seasons and flooding,” said Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “These events have been increasing in intensity due to climate change, and this initiative ensures a reliable transportation system will be in place for future emergency events as well as the continued movement of people, goods and services.”
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for the transportation network to be reliable to help ensure people in rural communities can get to medical facilities quickly, and so first responders, medical personnel, and medical supplies can get to communities in a timely manner.
The program features projects that will mitigate and address the effects of climate change in more than 60 locations, while building back B.C. by providing good jobs.
“Every year, British Columbians see first-hand the escalating impacts that climate change has on our communities and infrastructure,” said George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Floods, wildfires and water shortages are increasingly common and severe. This investment will upgrade systems to guard against extreme flooding, erosion and other climate change events. It’s part of our economic recovery plan and CleanBC commitment to help people, communities and the natural environment protect against the impacts of climate change.”
According to Fleming, the projects are spread throughout the province as this issue is not specific to one geographic area, “This ensures work created by this program will benefit people in many communities, particularly small construction companies that have seen a reduction in work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Projects include riverbank erosion protection, creek channel training, culvert upsizing, flood protection works, slope erosion protection, and avalanche system maintenance.
B.C.’s total provincial response to the COVID-19 pandemic is $10 billion.