Why a $700 million Barrowtown is key to Abbotsford's plans to solve its Nooksack problem
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Friday, April 8, 2022
Good Morning Reader!
It’s going to rain this weekend, but a spring Fraser Valley rain is still (often) tolerable. It’s not great, but you can still do some things, even outside. We’ve started putting together a map of interesting places to go even when it’s raining and we would love your help. Reply to this email and tell us where you go in the valley when it’s raining on a spring weekend. (Since you’re sending us an email anyways, tell us what you do when it’s gloriously sunny in spring.) We’ll collect the best answers and include them in a map in a future edition.—Tyler Olsen, managing editor

Today’s weather: 🌧 8 C
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The Barrowtown floodgates are a choke point for funnelling water out of Sumas Prairie and toward the Fraser River. 📸 Satellite: Peregrine Aerial Surveys; Floodgates: Grace Kennedy; Map: City of Abbotsford
The geography (and politics) of a bigger, better Barrowtown

A super-sized Barrowtown Pump Station may be needed to drain Sumas Prairie if the Americans don’t fortify the banks of the Nooksack River. And if the US continues to allow the river to flood northward, Abbotsford’s mayor says maybe they should foot the bill for the $700 million project.

A lack of confidence that the Americans will take the necessary steps to avert a future Nooksack flood is at the heart of new planning on how to better prepare the low-lying Sumas Prairie for future disasters. And it won’t be cheap.

The four flood-mitigation options unveiled last week are only a starting point for decisions. But they contain two main themes to protect Sumas Prairie from a future flood: a massive new pump station near the current Barrowtown facility, and the creation of a new floodway and dike system through the western part of the prairie. Together, the ideas show how last November’s disaster and the months since have altered officials’ confidence that the problem can be fixed at the source, and sharply changed their plans. (You can read our story from Monday on the four options under consideration by the city here.)

Today, Tyler unpacks why officials feel a $700 million new Barrowtown pump station is vital to protect against another flood in the near future. Watch for a second story next week on the floodways, improved dikes—and potential buyouts—under consideration.

Yesterday: The data that shows the Fraser Valley remains a home-sellers market
Need to Know
🚑 An Abbotsford senior was hospitalized after being struck by a vehicle while crossing Bevan Road [Abbotsford News]

🚓 A sex offender deemed a high risk to re-offend has been arrested in Abbotsford for shoplifting [Abbotsford News]

👉 Langley’s Fibroymyalgia Well Spring Foundation is fundraising to buy a house in Aldergrove to provide support for clients [Langley Advance Times]

🔊 Mission will hold a forum later this month to gather residents’ perspectives on homelessness [City of Mission]

⚖ An Abbotsford drug dealer who sold $1,800 of fentanyl and carfentinil to an undercover police officer had a year knocked off his five-year jail sentence by BC’s appeal court [Court of Appeal of British Columbia]

‼ An Albertan man caught an eight-foot-long sturgeon while fishing in a kayak on the Fraser [CTV]

🚫 Two Abbotsford mushroom farms with a long history of rule violations have been fined a combined $650,000 [CTV]

The owner of an Agassiz campground hopes to expand the site. 📸 Grace Kennedy
The Agenda
Pathfinder Camp Resorts is hoping to expand its footprint in Agassiz by adding another 24 units to its campground. The company purchased the existing 32-site property in 2019—it had previously been home to a number of full-time RV residents—before opening it to the public for summer camping last year. Now it has asked the District of Kent to rezone a neighbouring property to add another 24 RV sites, as well as a dog run and walking path. The properties are located off Lougheed Highway near Ashton Road. An on-site caretaker would live at the campground.

Ellen Youn-Nguyen has been recognized as Mission’s Citizen of the Year for her work with a range of community organizations. Over the years, Youn-Nguyen has been involved with Mission Minor Baseball, the Mission Sports Council, Mission Skating Club, the Mission District Historical Society and the Rotary Club of Mission Mid-Day group. She’s also a past-president of the Mission Chamber of Commerce and previously won the Premier’s Excellence Award. Mission will honour Youn-Nguyen and more than a dozen other active community members at its 2022 Community Awards Ceremony on April 26. Valerie Billesberger, Jim Hinds, Glen Kask, and Doug Pearson will received Freedom of the City medals. More details on the ceremony and other winners are available here.
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COVID latest
No case data was released Thursday as the province moves to reporting new COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths on a weekly basis. We will provide the data we have, as it is available, but this section will likely no longer be a daily feature of the newsletter. We hope you have found it useful.

Around Town
🐸 Join Fraser Valley Conservancy herpetologist Jennifer Barden on a guided tour of frogs in Chilliwack’s Hillkeep Park on Saturday, April 16. Register online.

Calendar Girls, the story of the Yorkshire women who pose for a calendar to raise money for Cancer research, is coming to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre April 21 to 30. Tickets online

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