Fraser Valley farmers are eligible for $5 million in funding under a flood mitigation program announced by the province in March as part of a $200 million food security package.
‚ÄúIndividual farms will become more resilient through projects that improve feed and fuel storage, increase erosion control, develop natural buffers and, very importantly, raise farm equipment, feeding stations and electrical drainage or water systems,‚ÄĚ said BC agriculture minister Pam Alexis, announcing the funding at Windberry Farms in Abbotsford on June 20.
Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC is administering the program, which also includes $15 million for community organizations, local and First Nations governments to undertake projects related to ecosystem health such as culvert improvements, embankment stabilization, and crop diversification to enhance soil resiliency.
‚ÄúThese projects will reduce the risk of flooding to the broader community and support shared values in protecting and restoring fish habitat,‚ÄĚ Alexis says.
Alexis said the funding would protect the livelihoods of farm families and food security while supporting partnerships between farm organizations, local governments and First Nations to prepare for future flooding on the scale of the November 2021 event.
‚ÄúThe experiences during that time were terrible,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚Äú[But] we‚Äôve been building back together ever since.‚ÄĚ
Successful projects are eligible for up to $200,000 in funding, covering 90% of project costs. This means at least 25 farms will benefit, though Alexis said if demand for the program is strong the province will consider additional funding.
‚ÄúWe can look at that and see how popular it becomes. We can review the numbers after we get some sense of how popular it becomes,‚ÄĚ Alexis said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve had a number of different programs launch in the past couple of months and the uptake has been swift, there‚Äôs no question ‚Ä¶ so we will review this just as we will review the other programs with respect to the caps.‚ÄĚ
The program is one of a number of initiatives announced in recent months targeting flood mitigation and infrastructure. Alexis hosted cabinet colleagues for an announcement at her ministry‚Äôs officers in Abbotsford on April 28 where $3.2 million was pledged for improvements to the Barrowtown pump station with an additional $5.3 million for nine other projects as part of the Sumas River Flood Mitigation Collaborative Framework, which itself received $4 million.
In addition, the first phase of Abbotsford‚Äôs long-term flood mitigation strategy is holding open houses this week while funding is sought for the first $800 million phase of the project.