Past diking projects didn’t prevent flooding

Luckily, current winter storms can help determine where sandbagging would best be done.

Past diking projects didn’t prevent flooding

Dear mayors and councillors of North Cowichan and Duncan:

I appreciate multi-million-dollar diking in and around Duncan and North Cowichan in recent years was well intentioned and did prevent flooding in some areas.

However, heavy recent rains during a relatively short 36-hour period saw various areas of our municipalities flood — precisely the soggy, sorry event local taxpayers (assisted by provincial and federal grants) spent a fortune to prevent!

Those areas ironically included the flooding closure of Canada Avenue across from our costly pump station, and near our RCMP station.

This pond prevented police from turning right to attend matters toward Duncan. First responders and local residents were also rerouted during the Canada Avenue closure.

Such closures, after spending millions on dikes, is embarrassing and alarming.

I now strongly recommend against new dikes being built, and less-expensive, arguably more-effective sandbagging being installed at points where flooding is historically worst.

Yes, I will help with those sandbagging duties.

Experts have told our councils flooding points are hard to determine, especially in the face of climate change and its impact on local rivers, lakes and waterways.

Local leaders in past decades have foolishly allowed more and more development near our precious Somenos Marsh despite flood and environmental-degradation warnings.

Those developments joined older residential building in historically flooded areas along the Cowichan River, near McAdam Park, and elsewhere.

I’m interested to see how the new residential building off York Road — edging onto the marsh and against public advice — will fare during current and future storms causing flooding.

With the efficacy of diking and pumping under question, and the crisis effects of climate change growing, I recommend our councils revisit and revamp our flooding plans as soon as possible.

Also, I certainly recommend against hiring the hydrological engineering firms that planned and constructed our dikes in recent years.

Luckily, current winter storms can help determine where sandbagging would best be done.

Peter W. Rusland

North Cowichan

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