City crews gear up for spring flooding season

City crews are working on Mill Creek to increase its capacity, ahead of the upcoming spring runoff.

Infrastructure Manager Alan Newcombe says there are two major pieces of work getting done.

"Vegtation removal along the banks and within the channel itself, so that's going to have a fair bit of impact on restoring channel capacity. And then the other one is the dredging, that's going to start up here in the next few days. Those two together, are kind of our main focus right now," he said.

The city says the area near the mouth of the creek will act as a staging area for crews and their equipment.

As a result, Lake Avenue Park is now closed for the next four weeks, along with its parking lot and pedestrian bridge, though the City Park tunnel will stay open with detour signage.

Newcombe says some big projects have already been finished, including repairs to Upper Vernon Creek, north of the airport.

He says restoring the creek channel has been the biggest project to date.

"It had been a concrete flume that was built way back in the '70s or '80s, so the concrete flume was destroyed last year. We've reconstructed a bit more of a naturalized channel now, with a liner in the bottom and material and boulders within the channel. So, (we) kind of restored a bit more of a naturalized channel through there," he said.

He says even though the maintenance of Mission Creek is a provincial responsibility, the city has still contributed to flood-proofing, with immediate work done last May.

"We raised the dykes on both sides, so that there would be capacity within the channel for the one in 200 year event on Mission Creek. That additional channel capacity is going to be there now forever. There was some minor erosion that took place that was taken care of after the (flooding) event last year," he said.

Dredging along Bellevue Creek has also been completed, as workers still finish up erosion remediation and gravel removal.

Last year, $10.7 million worth of flood restoration projects were identified, that will be finished sometime next year.