Flood anxiety: Sunnyside residents push for higher flood berm

Dozens of Sunnyside residents held a city open house on Tuesday evening to learn about the four flood berm height options the city has studied for the area.

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association said in a news release that a higher flood berm would be “technically, economically, environmentally and socially feasible.”

Charlie Lund, a volunteer with the community association’s flood committee, says they’re looking to provide protection for Sunnyside against future floods.

“I think that if you’re in this community during flood season, anxiety and the stress is really palpable,” said Lund, whose basement flooded during the 2013 floods. 

“I cannot walk down the street during flood season without being stopped once or twice from somebody saying ‘you think we’re going to flood this year?'” 

Charlie Lund, a volunteer with the community association’s flood committee, says this discussion should have been completed three years ago. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The city’s four options that look at protecting Sunnyside from flood events ranging from one in 20 years to one in 200 years.

Lund says the one-in-20 flood option that Sunnyside currently has is unacceptable.

“We’re adamant about that,” Lund said. “And as for whether the one-in-5,0 or the one-in-100 or the one-in-200 is the right number, that depends on the various tradeoffs.”

The tradeoffs

 Vania Chivers is with the city water services and says if the barrier gets higher it will also get longer and wider, which effects the area. 

“There’s impacts to trees like views experience, just experience on pathways, Memorial Drive… So we we really want to understand how the community prioritizes those tradeoffs versus the protection,” she said.

Chivers says that over the past year they’ve been studying various factors related to the design of a barrier, and how the south side of the river impacts the north side.

However the open house and feedback received online will allow the city to view residents input.

“No decisions have been made on the barrier height and we really want people’s input to help us reach that decision,” she said.

Chivers says they will come to a decision in 2020.

Vania Chivers with city water services says they’re taking community feedback. (Monty Kruger/CBC)



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