Residents in the Argyle street-Jarvis Road area tell us that flooding has become increasingly frequent and serious, in recent years.
The coincidence with a lot of major new construction uphill from Broad Brook is inescapable, and makes us strongly suspect that a cause-and-effect relationship.
Flooding in some affected houses has already gone beyond acceptable limits. We are encouraged to hear that the Town will make dealing with this one of its priorities. With this in mind, changing land uses uphill can increase runoff, which will exacerbate the situation and increase the cost of the remedy. Any gains in taxation from upstream and uphill projects may well be insufficient to solve the downstream issues.
We therefore urge caution before allowing new developments in this area, particularly if they do not address runoff issues. Proponents need to be aware of the growing problem. Any construction which is allowed should include measures to mitigate runoff and prevent downstream flooding, including retention ponds, minimal paving, and the use of other best practices to reduce and control runoff. A little investigation into how other communities deal with similar problems may be helpful.
We also strongly encourage all members of the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) and councillors to talk with affected residents in order to get the most clear possible idea of the problems they are facing. It sounds as if they are bearing the costs from some of the uphill and upstream developments. That, if so, is unfair. The ‚ÄúWho benefits? Who pays?‚ÄĚ pair of questions intrudes, as it should.
Part of this problem may well be due to a couple of major provincial projects: the new jail and the new high school, which unavoidably add to the flow coming down Broad Brook. Seems to us, therefore, the province has an obligation to be part of the solution, in terms of any needed improvements to infrastructure. We encourage the town to initiate discussions with the province with a view to getting appropriate and needed support.
Otherwise, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Relatively easy preventative measures are probably the most cost-effective way of making sure that future runoff and flooding issues throughout the town are minimized and resolved.
John Sollows, executive director,
Tusket River Environmental Protection Association