REGIONAL DISTRICT of Kitimat-Stikine administration met with the residents of Dutch Valley last night to follow up on last month’s demands for flooding protection.
About 25 residents came out to hear what regional district administrator Bob Marcellin had to say about erosion control, flooding protection and the approximate cost of each April 18.
Marcellin had documents that laid out how much erosion control would cost, about $500,000, compared to flooding protection, about $2 million.
The amounts that residents would have to pay varied from one-third up to 100 per cent, depending on whether government grant money was available and if so, whether the regional district could get access to it.
It also outlined when the regional district last applied for money from the federal or provincial governments and whether it was successful in getting money.
A couple of residents argued that they couldn’t afford to pay the estimated amounts while others argued that erosion control wasn’t enough and that previous work the regional district had done downstream did nothing to protect landowners upstream.
Resident Kent Goddard argued that he didn’t want to pay for flooding protection that didn’t apply to him as he lived on the other side of the river.
Resident Jennifer Morgan asked him what if he lived on their side and wouldn’t he want his neighbours to help him out by helping to pay.
When Marcellin asked how many residents would agree to pay for Dutch Valley to be a service area that the regional district would provide services for, James Wold said he didn’t want to vote for it when Marcellin couldn’t tell him the exact amount he would have to pay.
Morgan said the amount didn’t matter right now, but what was being voted on was whether people would be willing to pay so they could tell the government that.
Wold said he would agree to pay.
Maury Hurst of the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) said that no money for flooding protection was available now, as PEP money only would kick in when flooding had occurred to help mitigate the damage and protect what could still be protected.
She had been fighting to get money from the government for the regional district when it was available and would continue to help.
Other regional districts that she had worked with would only act so far as to evacuate residents from flood areas but the regional district here wants to help do more than that.
Regional district official Roger Tooms said it was important to have a plan in mind and be ready to go so when flooding occurred and money was available, the regional district could act as financing could be available and then gone in a couple of days.
Marcellin said he had an agreement, which would need at least 50 per cent of property owners to sign and that would have to comprise at least 50 per cent of total assessed land value.
Marcellin said he held the meeting April 18 because at the next regional district board meeting this Friday, the board would want to know what happened tonight and it would be good if that agreement could be ready.
Morgan offered to look after the agreement and set about getting residents to sign as they were leaving.