The District of Houston continues to work at finding a solution to flooding around several properties, including the Silverthorne Trailer Park. (Houston Today photo)

The District of Houston continues to work at finding a solution to flooding around several properties, including the Silverthorne Trailer Park. (Houston Today photo)

District seeks grant to ease flooding problem

Silverthorne Creek drainage affected

The District of Houston is continuing its search for senior government grants to help finance a long-wanted project to solve seasonal flooding of the Silverthorne Creek drainage area.

Its latest attempt is applying to a provincial program for $750,000 which would go a long way toward an estimated project cost of $1.866 million laid out for council’s consideration nearly two years ago.

At the same time, the District of Houston is still waiting to hear about an earlier application made to a federal-provincial program for 73.33 per cent of the project cost or $1.381 million. The District would then need to come up with $485,000 of its own money, or 26 per cent of the project cost.

In an Oct. 30 memo presented to council at its Nov. 3 meeting, District communications director Holly Brown laid out the intricate math associated with the new application for $750,000 and the one for $1.381 million.

If the new $750,000 application for provincial money was approved, “stacking rules” would apply as this money could not be in addition to the provincial portion of the $1.381 million from the federal-provincial program also being requested, she wrote.

And because the provincial portion of the requested provincial-federal grant request is less than the $750,000 now wanted from the separate provincial grant application, the District would end up with more money, which it could then use to reduce its own costs.

“If both applications were successful, the District could have an extra $134,128.26 to alleviate our cost portion of $485,323,” Brown wrote.

“There would be no harm to the District for receiving funds from both programs,” she added.

As to how the District would finance its portion of the planned work, it could use its own reserves, use its surplus or borrow money to be repaid by property owners in the area.

The estimated $1.866 million project to alleviate flooding arose out of a 2019 study prepared by the firm Kingston and Associates which outllined historic spring flooding events increasing since 1997 because two existing systems to drain waters can’t handle the flows from snowmelt to the Bulkley River.

Culverts were blocked and ditches compromised, the study said of problems impeding proper drainage.

The study noted that two flooding events in 2017 and 2018 resulted in flooding of Finning Canada’s property, flooding of Monster Industries property, water flowing over CN tracks, and flooding of the Morice River Forest Service Road.

Specifically, the study outlined what it called “probable seasonal inundation of septic systems at the Silverthorne Trailer Park, home to approximately 25 residential manufactured homes.”

“There have been no reported problems, however the regulatory requirements for these septic systems to lie above the 25-year flood event is almost certainly not being met,” the study noted.

It said there’s a potential for contamination of local wells, including those at the trailer park.

The option chosen by council to pursue would involve running drainage pipes under both the CN Rail line and the second crossing of a CN Rail spur line and the Morice River Road.

Construction of a berm at Monster Industries would also take as would work to connect Oxbow Lake to a reclaimed gravel pit with an outlet control installation at the northwest outlet to the gravel pit and construction of upgraded channel between this location and the Morice River Road.