Provincial Oversight Requested for Hatzic Watershed Management
August 22, 2022
Mission, BC—Local partners in the management of the Hatzic Watershed are asking the Provincial Government to lead a stakeholder discussion on how best to manage the long-standing and complex flooding, water quality, and aquatic ecosystem issues of the area.
In a letter co-written by Leq’á:mel First Nation, City of Mission, Fraser Valley Regional District Area F and Area G, and the Dewdney Area Improvement District, the group outlined a proposed meeting agenda that would see topics like funding, coordinated diking and drainage plans, roles, timing, and traditional stewardship authority discussed with the overall goal of establishing a collaborative and resilient path forward.
While there have been previous attempts to coordinate management through the Hatzic Lake Management Plan developed in 2020, further work is needed to ensure the protection of people, habitat, cultural values, farmland, and property in the greater Hatzic Watershed area. The plan also recommended that the Provincial government take a leading role in the overall implementation.
Last year’s atmospheric rivers triggered flooding in Hatzic that resulted in the evacuation of local residents and major transportation disruptions throughout Mission, areas of the Fraser Valley Regional District, and Leq’á:mel First Nation.
With extreme rainfall followed by summer drought expected more frequently in the future, the partners have been in regular discussion on how best to manage the issues and have reached an agreement that Provincial oversight is needed to provide the necessary policy, funding, and long-term strategy.
Councillor Darrel McKamey, Leq’á:mel First Nation −
“Flooding not only displaces people but can severely impact fish habitat and surrounding ecosystems that play an integral role in the Leq’á:mel way of life. The north side of the Fraser River, particularly between Mission and Harrison Mills, has many concerns that have been studied and identified for repair or replacement for decades but continue to be overlooked for other areas in the Fraser Valley. Our collaborative group will continue to address areas that impact our respective communities, while further strengthening our government-to-government relations.”
Mayor Paul Horn, City of Mission −
“This issue has lingered for at least forty years and our changing climate means that we cannot afford to delay any longer because homes, farms, and habitats hang in the balance. It’s clear to me that there is a collective will to work together on this complex issue, with the aim being a properly funded and realistic plan that is agreed to by all.”
Hugh Davidson, Director, Fraser Valley Regional District Area F –
“The Hatzic Lake Management Plan laid out a path forward. While some progress has been made, we need to bring focus to the issues and challenges surrounding climate change and flood control, and that’s going to need collaboration amongst many stakeholders. Establishing leadership is the first step.”
Al Stobbart, Director, Fraser Valley Regional District Area G −
“As Director of the FVRD’s Area G for the past 14 years and, representing just one of the many surrounding jurisdictions, I’ve come to the realization that the issues affecting Hatzic Lake regarding drainage, flooding, water quality, and invasive species cannot be properly addressed without the Province providing adequate and active oversight.”
Dave Scott, Operations Manager, Dewdney Area Improvement District −
“Climate change is a reality and Hatzic watershed is particularly vulnerable to the associated effects of it. A collaborative approach is required to address the ecosystem, agricultural, forests, recreational, cultural values, and protect the growing community that thrives and benefits within it. Dewdney Area Improvement District looks forward to taking another step toward ensuring a long-term stewardship-based strategy for the present and future generations.”
Manager, Communications and Public Engagement
City of Mission