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It would have cost $30 million to prevent the Princeton flood

Engineer’s report was too little, too late, but mayor says there are reasons for optimism

Protecting the town of Princeton from flood would have cost at least $30 million, according to an engineer’s report completed just before the Nov. 14, 2021, disaster.

Mayor Spencer Coyne said the report hadn’t even been presented to council when the Tulameen River burst its banks in the worst flood here in 200 years.

“We didn’t even have time to digest the information,” he said.

Now, he added ruefully, there needs to be a new report.

“We have to redo the study,” he said. “The river has changed, things upstream have changed. Everything we know about the river is out the window.”

The initial reported indicated that all the dikes in Princeton needed to be raised one metre, employing a variety of strategies including large rocks, compacted soil and liners.

During a recent meeting with provincial government ministers, which Coyne attended, it was hinted that responsibility for dikes in the province may shift.

Previously the province downloaded the care and maintenance of dikes to municipalities.

“I’m optimistic about it,” said Coyne. “If the province is going to take back diking authority then that’s really good.

“If they are going to fund it and let us do the diking authority that’s also a good thing. Those are the best outcomes for that.”

Related: Four days after the Princeton flood, in photos: The aftermath

Related: Soldiers deployed to Princeton for flood relief

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Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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