The City of St. John’s plans to spend $5.3 million on flood protection measures for Rennie’s River.
“While it did take some time, we have before us a very extensive, comprehensive report that will take some time to digest when you get into the specifics of the report,” said Coun. Jonathan Galgay, chairman of the city’s public works committee.
The approved im-provements include weirs and berms in the neighbourhood, and erosion control measures for the banks of the river.
Coun. Bernard Davis said Rennie’s River-area residents have suffered flooding for years.
“Since 2000 in particular, whenever we have heavy rainfall, they tend to have flooding occur here,” he said. “Over the next number of years, we’re going to be working very hard to fill the problems and identify the solutions in the report. Obviously there’s a price tag associated with that, but we’re going to move as fast as we can with that.”
Davis noted the study is the result of a meeting held by the residents two years ago to discuss the flooding problems.
“I’d like to thank the residents that called this meeting as well as former councillor (Debbie) Hanlon, who was involved as well at that point,” said Davis. “I’m happy for the residents, many of whom are in attendance here today, and have worked hard and shown great patience as we work through this study, and it’s a long time coming for a lot of them. I know if it was my property, I’d feel the same way they do.”
The first step, said Davis — who said he expects city staff to get to work as quickly as possible on the project — is the installation of a weir at the outlet of Long Pond.
“This will allow further implementation of the other recommendations downstream, and the installation of this weir will help reduce the flooding potential for the residents, and this weir will better allow the holding and release of excess water.”
Coun. Dave Lane, chairman of the city’s environmental advisory committee, said the plan makes effective use of natural flood defences.
“The thing with Long Pond is it’s a just wetland … so there’s a lot of backup potential there without causing flooding, and that has to do with the way we’ve set up our zoning and regulations, so that we sustain our natural wetlands and waterways, so that we can avoid and work around the challenges that come with natural disasters.”