Surrey council has awarded a $1.1 million contract for the design of the Serpentine River sea dam replacement.
On the recommendation of city staff, Associated Engineering (B.C.) Ltd. received the nod at the May 4 council meeting.
The replacement project was among 13 identified under Surrey’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund program, which aims to reduce the city’s vulnerability to flooding and sea-level rise.
Last May, in an announcement staged on the Nicomekl sea dam, federal government officials pledged more than $76 million to the projects to help mitigate coastal flooding in Surrey, Semiahmoo First Nation and Delta communities.
Other projects named included construction of a six-lane bridge in South Surrey to replace the Nicomekl dam, Bailey bridge and King George Boulevard bridge.
According to a corporate report on the Serpentine project, the sea-dam structure is more than 100 years old, and “will be over-topped as a result of projected sea level rise associated with climate change.”
As well, it “does not meet the current seismic standards and has limited periods of fish passage.”
Its replacement is proposed to be located west of Highway 99, downstream from its current location at King George Boulevard.
“The new structure will improve seismic resiliency, improve fish passage, and provide protection to surrounding agricultural area from flooding due to tidal surges and future sea level rise associated with climate change,” the report states.
The contract award – funded from the city’s drainage budget, phased over two years, with 40 per cent funded by the federal government – covers engineering services for the replacement’s design, as well as a decommissioning plan for the existing structure.
It also includes an option to award construction services.
The design work is expected to start this month and be completed by the fall of 2022. Construction cost is anticipated at $19 million, and – as with all 13 projects included in last May’s announcement – must be completed by 2028 to remain eligible for the federal funds.
At Monday’s meeting, Coun. Jack Hundial, who chairs the city’s agriculture and food policy advisory committee, noted “quite a few farmers… are looking forward to the project and proposed upgrades there as well.”
Hundial also took the opportunity to remind the public that the dikes are on private property.
“It’s very important that we don’t walk across them, because they do impact farmers’ fields as well.”
According to a list included with the corporate report, most of the remaining 12 projects on the DMAF list are at some point in the design stage, two are under construction and one – that of upgrades to the Serpentine SRY rail link bridge and Surrey dike crossing – has been completed.