Sandy Russell, a long-time resident on Russell Road in Elphinstone, has been emailing me about the ongoing situation there. She had warned Ministry of Highways that a washout was imminent after she noticed water getting close the top of the road. Sure enough, a washout occurred on Dec. 13, and the road was still closed when I went to look on Dec. 31.
There has been a record amount of rain this past month, but there’s obviously a problem since a previous closure occurred there in 2014. When I spoke to Donna McMahon about it she said, “The infrastructure is simply not built to handle the water we’re getting these days.” She is aware of a number of water concerns in Elphinstone and noted that section of Reed Road is getting two culverts and hoped that might solve the problem. She also says that better stormwater management is needed because, “all of our old infrastructure is based on historical weather patterns, (which) won’t deal with the increase in severe weather events.”
In one email, Sandy said that “around 1980, Reed Road west of Henry Road was privately built and a creek was diverted into a deep ditch which was directed into Shirley Creek.” She thinks that has contributed to these flooding problems and notes that Shirley Creek is a fish bearing stream. She went on to say “there is a lot more water in Shirley Creek than before the diversion. There is a whole lot of erosion from Reed Road down to the Highway.”
The diversion of so many of our creeks is sure to cause problems; near where I live, a tributary of Chaster Creek must have been diverted years ago as I’ve also seen water rise close to Kearton Road. A stream (unnamed as far as I know) crosses under Highway 101 and bisects a few properties between Hough and Pratt roads. After flowing along a deep ditch beside Kearton, the water forms a waterfall into Chaster Creek. It is illegal to divert creeks or to clear right up to their banks – for good reason. A natural stream is the best protection against flooding and best for the health of fish.
The next meeting of the Elphinstone Community Association will be held at Frank West Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. Nara Brenchley of the Clean Air Society, whose mission is to educate about the importance/benefits of clean air, will be on hand to talk about the wood stove exchange program that she administers.
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