One such affected resident, Ben Northcott, who lives at 1625 101 Avenue, appeared before city council on Monday to ask what could be done to prevent future flooding of the area around the intersection of 17 Street and 102 Avenue, one of the areas hardest hit when the Dawson Creek overflowed its banks during the latest downpour a couple weekends ago. Joining him in the gallery was his neighbour, Sharon Moore, who also received property damage when her home was flooded.
"Twice in the last three weeks, both our properties have been under five feet of water, and I'm just wondering what if anything is going to be done about the culvert situation and the bridge, as it seems to be falling apart as well," said Northcott.
He suggested a second, larger culvert be constructed beside the existing one to allow more water to flow through the creek without flooding the roads above in the case of another heavy rainfall event.
However, Mayor Mike Bernier said another culvert would likely not have helped during the flooding as water levels in the creek were above the level of the roads on both sides of the intersection, indicating the problem was not that the water was being blocked there with no place to go. He added they have to be aware of what impact speeding up the waterflow in one section of the creek would have in other areas.
Greg Dobrowolski, deputy chief administrative officer for the city, said they will have the city's watershed manager, who has experience in that regard, will look at the situation to see if improvements can be made.
"It may be that we can't do anything, but you dont know until you look," said Dobrowolski.
As for repairs to the sections of 102 Avenue and 17 Street that were washed out, director of infrastructure Kevin Henderson said they require permitting approval from the Ministry of Environment to do those repairs in and above the creek, which he suspects will be granted later this week. He added the city has hired a local engineer to inspect the structural integrity of the bridges on 17 Street and 10 Street.
Janet Loiselle, deputy chief financial officer, said based on information received from two local insurance companies, 74 separate addresses have reported flooding in their basements due to sewer back-ups.
City council is encouraging residents or business owners affected by the recent floods to contact their insurance providers, and to contact the fire department to see if they are eligible for financial relief for non-insurable property damage under the Provincial Emergency Program.