In the meantime
By Chad Ingram
Published July 27, 2017
As has been written in this space before, two major Minden floods in a four-year period have made it evident that flood mitigation infrastructure will be required in the village.
Think a deepening and/or widening of the channel of the Gull River.
Think flood walls in certain areas.
These are the types of projects that will require significant amounts of money and, unfortunately, significant amounts of time.
Years, not months, is the way Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin put it during a lengthy post-flood public meeting at the community centre last week.
Government moves slowly most of the time and since this particular situation involves overlapping jurisdiction and will require the municipal, provincial and federal levels working in concert, it seems likely the process will move at near-glacial speed.
In the meantime, however, what can be done by the involved agencies to help mitigate flooding in Minden?
A few things.
It came up during last week’s meeting that Parks Canada, the agency which operates the Trent Severn Waterway, of which the Gull River watershed is part, has not implemented a recommendation on modelling systems that came from a report done by engineering firm AECOM Canada.
AECOM conducted a third-party review of the 2013 flood and the subsequent report, which cleared Parks Canada staff of any error that may have caused the flood, contained a number of recommendations.
One of those recommendations was that Parks Canada employ a more advanced modelling system. At last week’s meeting, the rep from Parks Canada said that while some work had been done in that area, its modelling system is not up to the standard recommended in the report.
It makes one wonder what other recommendations from the report have not been acted upon, and demonstrates that improvements can be made at the federal level.
Haliburton County is unique in that it is one of few areas in the province without a conservation authority. Among other functions, conservation authorities perform flood management.
Haliburton County has joined forces with the Coalition for Equitable Water Flow to create a new organization called the Upper Trent Watershed Water Management Partnership, which will act as a sort of de facto conservation authority. While still in fairly formative stages, hopefully its activities will result in better flood control in Minden.
At the township level, a gauge on the bridge in Minden’s downtown allows for accurate measurement of water levels and staff know the magic number that indicates the village is in for a flood. Armed with this knowledge, more proactive measures could be taken before floodwaters overtake the streets.
Building a large berm of sandbags at the boat launch at Anson and Peck Streets, for example.
Flood mitigation infrastructure may be years away, but there are measures that can be taken in the more immediate future.