Study outlining ways to deal with flooding

The District of Houston council has decided, at least for now, to receive and file a study outlining ways to deal with flooding affecting businesses and a trailer park in the Silverthorne Creek drainage area.

“At this time [council] has not directed staff to include the scope of work contained with the study in the [District’s] financial plan,” District chief administrative officer of the study which outlined drainage improvement estimates ranging from $1.87 million to $2.53 million.

A briefing memo for council did add that District staffers are reviewing options arising from the study and researching possible financial assistance from senior governments.

The Kingston and Associates study said historic spring flooding events have reportedly increased 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 inudation 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.

Cost variances among the work recommendations contained in the study point to what it called “ramming” pipe underneath both CN’s tracks and Hwy16.

And adding to the complexity of any contemplated work would be negotiating and securing access to CN property, other private property, provincial highway rights-of-way and Morice River Road rights-of-way.

Overall, when considering the impact of flooding on businesses and concerns tied to the Silverthorne Trailer Park waste disposal system and domestic water well, Kingston and Associates recommended the District proceed.

It did urge the District to approach the provincial government for money for a more thorough study of what might take place.

The briefing memo prepared for council said a fund administered through the Union of B.C. Municipalities has, in the past, provided grants to other municipalities of up to $750,000 to ease flooding.

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