CBRM TO SPEND $4 MILLION FIGHTING FLOODING OVER NEXT FIVE YEARS
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by Michelle Moore
Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) plans to spend $4 million over the next five years in an attempt to protect communities from large scale flooding.
CBRM was created in 1995 by amalgamating eight municipalities in Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia. At 2, 422 square kilometres, it includes all of the county except Eskasoni and Membertou First Nations.
At a CBRM municipal council meeting on July 10 council discussed how to combat flooding in Sydney’s Wash Brook during times of heavy rain.
Council received the final report on the Wash Brook Flood Water Containment and Intensity Mitigation Project whose goal was to analyze the level of flood risk and propose solutions.
CBCL, an engineering and environmental design and consulting firm in Atlantic Canada presented the findings of a comprehensive hydraulic model that developed different options for flood mitigation for the Wash Brook watershed.
After months of studies and consultations, council determined the option that would have the most impact on reducing flooding and providing protection for public and private infrastructure.
This option includes the construction of flood control structures at Mud Lake and Gilholmes Lake which feed into Wash Brook, and floodwater retention in the Baille Ard Nature Trails.
At a public session held on May 29, citizens voiced their concerns at how that option would affect hiking trails in times of flooding, but with no better option consensus was eventually
However, the municipality's engineering director Wayne MacDonald warned that flooding cannot be wholly eliminated by any measure, especially when it comes to low lying areas.
MacDonald said "the lower reaches of the Wash Brook are susceptible to the actual tide effects ... you can store as much water in those areas, but you're affected by high and low tides."
The Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs has agreed to fund part of the flow control structure at Mud Lake at the cost of $217 500. The second phase of construction will be done when additional funding is found.
The Gilholmes Lake flow control structure is expected to cost $128 498 and the cost of the retention pond has been evaluated at $3 507 184.
Leading up to this decision by council CBRM had received $100 000 through the Nova Scotia Flood Risk Infrastructure Investment Program to alleviate the costs of the studying the impact of heavy rain on watersheds in the municipality.