Phase 2 (2016 — present) of the Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy (LMFMS) initiative is aimed at developing a regional strategy to reduce flood risk and increase the flood resilience of communities along the lower Fraser and South Coast. Phase 2 builds on the work in Phase 1 through the collaboration of four orders of government and other bodies having responsibilities for flood management in the region.
Work in this phase has included Fraser River and coastal flood scenario mapping and a risk assessment for the region to inform the strategy.
A preliminary working draft of a strategy (Draft 1) was provided to organizations participating in the flood strategy process for focused input in early 2021. There was significant support among the participants on some parts of the draft strategy, and divergent views expressed on other parts. More work is needed to continue engagement and dialogue and to seek common direction on regional flood management priorities and other strategic issues. The Leadership Committee of the LMFMS is also reviewing the structure and scope of the initiative. Steps are expected to strengthen the participation of First Nations, in alignment with the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and requirements of BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act).
Given the work ahead, more time is needed to finalize the strategy. The initiative may be extended to March, 2024, depending on decisions of the Leadership Committee and available funding.
Lower Mainland flood risk reduction calls for significant investments and policy commitments over the long term. It is therefore important that the Strategy “get it right.” Just as important is that progress on long-term solutions should not delay priority actions and investments that can help reduce flood risk in the near term. The devastating impacts of Nooksack River flooding of Sumas Prairie in November 2021 show the importance of both short-term and long-term measures.