Drainage study suggests improvements to ease flooding
By Chad Ingram
Published April 19, 2018
The implementation of a fill bylaw and a potential berm are among the suggestions to mitigate flooding in Minden Hills contained in a draft drainage study that was reviewed by councillors during a meeting last week.
Representatives from engineering firm C.C. Tatham and Associates visited councillors during their April 12 committee-of-the-whole meeting to go over the draft study. Minden Hills hired the firm to complete the study using funding it received from the federal government’s National Disaster Mitigation Program.
The study looked at four main areas: the stretch of the Gull River from Peck Street to Spring Valley Road; Moore Lake Estates; Prince Street; and Beaver Creek at Bobcaygeon Road.
“We looked at a range of alternatives for high Gull River water levels and because of the nature of the system, and the fact that it is owned by Parks Canada, the township obviously has a lot less latitude in terms of how it can deal with those issues,” said senior engineer Amanda Kellett, who conducted most of the work in the study.
The Gull River is part of the feeder system for the Trent Severn Canal, and water from more than 25 reservoir and flow-through lakes in Haliburton County passes though the corridor of the Gull River through Minden, and into Gull Lake.
One of the firm’s recommendations is that the township request that Parks Canada and/or the MNRF conduct a study for the area to address high-level changes that might be made, such as a flood control berm along the river’s east bank.
Another is that the township create a fill bylaw, controlling where fill can be placed within Minden’s floodplain. A third is that the township consider revising its building permit process to include an engineering review – flood screening, essentially.
At Moore Lake Estates, recommendations include the creation of an additional drainage outlet near the boat launch on Moore Lake Estates Road, which will direct flow away from private property and to a drainage outlet located on a municipal right of way.
“The nature of the flooding is more minor in these areas and it tends to relate just to the fact that their ditch systems and culverts are flat and lack capacity, and the adjacent, low-lying properties that can be impacted,” Kellett said.
Cleaning out and regrading the ditches in the Moore Lake Estates area is also recommended.
Recommendations for Prince Street also included the regrading and cleaning of ditches. Since extreme flooding at Prince Street occurs when the Gull River surges its banks, the report noted that the recommendations for river corridor would also mitigate flooding there.
At Beaver Creek, a low-lying residential property floods when levels are high. Beaver Creek runs from Highway 118 to the Gull River. As Kellett explained, the residence is located lower than the culvert crossing and roadway.
“When flow has to spill over the road, it preferentially floods onto that property,” Kellett said. The recommendation there is that a berm be constructed, potentially at the property owner’s expense.
There are many more areas of the township that flood, but the parameters of this particular study included the four aforementioned areas.
Mayor Brent Devolin said it was a first step, and said the Burnt River watershed, Irondale and its surrounding area wouldn’t be forgotten.
Councillor Jeanne Anthon wondered about the recommendations for increased ditch capacity.
“In our residential areas, there’s already concern about how deep they are, relative to our aging population, children, pets, etc.,” Anthon said. “Is that really a good solution for us?”
“That’s a fair point,” said Kellett. “For the most part, what we had considered would strictly be just cleaning out ditches where sediment has accumulated, so not necessarily creating a deeper section, but just to restore what was intended to be there.”
The draft drainage study can be viewed on the April 12 Minden Hills meeting agenda on the Haliburton County website. Devolin said council was looking for feedback from residents on the draft. It will then be finalized by the engineering firm and brought back to council.