Powell River Regional District seeks stormwater input

Local government and transportation ministry ask electoral area residents for thoughts on drainage issues

Residents of Powell River Regional District’s mainland electoral areas are being asked for their input on stormwater management and flood mitigation.

The regional district and BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are completing a study on stormwater management and drainage in Electoral areas A, B and C, said district manager of planning Laura Roddan.

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“We want to hear from residents and property owners if they've witnessed standing water, overflowing ditches and culverts, bank erosion, or problems with stormwater management,” said Roddan.

Electoral Area B alternate director Alan Rebane said he is pleased the province and regional district are moving forward with the issue.

“This is what I've been waiting for,” said Rebane.

Public input gathered at an open house and through an online survey will be used to develop a high-level study of drainage in the areas, which will lead to recommendations on how the regional district and transportation ministry can more efficiently deal with stormwater and reduce flood risk, said Roddan.

Although it remains to be seen what the recommendations will be, Rebane said he thinks the local government should play a greater regulative role in land-use and development in the electoral areas where only small pockets have zoning and houses can be constructed without building permits.

Associated Engineering will be conducting the study, which is expected to be completed by March 2018, according to a spokesperson for the ministry.

The need for the study comes from historic issues associated with property development where potential drainage impacts have not been adequately considered. Roddan said determining whether or not current infrastructure can withstand severe storms is a priority.

“Increased rainfall events and increased severity of winter storms have been identified as key climate change impacts that we're going to be feeling on the coast here,” said Roddan. “An assessment of our stormwater management, the drainage and culverts that take all that stormwater out to sea, is important to ensure the infrastructure can handle those events.”

The provincial government is responsible for more than 1,200 drainage ditches and culverts in the electoral areas.

“We're aware of certain hotspots but we need input to identify where all the problems are,” said Roddan.

The regional district has identified climate change adaptation as a strategic goal and wants to hear about the measures residents have employed to deal with increased stormwater.

"Property owners also have a stewardship role in maintaining and managing stormwater on their property,” said Roddan. “Everybody has a role to play."

A community open-house meeting is being organized for between 4-8 pm on Wednesday, November 22, at Powell River Town Centre Hotel. Residents are being encouraged to complete the regional district’s online survey or contact the local government directly for more information.

Copyright © 2017 Powell River Peak

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