People living near Kin Beach Park trying to deal with flooding in past few years

To the best of his knowledge — and that of his neighbours — Phil Harrison's property on Little River Road never flooded in the past century — until recently.
He and others living near Kin Beach Park have been flooded regularly in the past few years, including this past Christmas Eve.

People living near Kin Beach Park are trying to make sense of heavy stormwater runoff that caused flooding of homes around Christmas and ran over roads in the area.

People living near Kin Beach Park are trying to make sense of heavy stormwater runoff that caused flooding of homes around Christmas and ran over roads in the area.

To the best of his knowledge — and that of his neighbours — Phil Harrison’s property on Little River Road never flooded in the past century — until recently.He and others living near Kin Beach Park have been flooded regularly in the past few years, including this past Christmas Eve. Astra Road resident Wayne Steck flooded in 2009 and 2010. He lost his washer, dryer and TV, and needed to gut his basement to the studs following the second flood. Water that had not previously existed had backed up on the drain tile.”I had excellent runoff,” Steck said. “We’ve been there 12 years and never had a problem (until 2009).”An insurance claim is on hold until his company hears from the Ministry of Transportation, and the Kincora Ridge housing development uphill from the neighbourhood.Steck said the ministry agreed to install a culvert from Astra Road to the ocean, but Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) stopped the project because it would interfere with a fish-bearing stream. Harrison said Kincora and a nearby property owner have cleared trees and drained land with ditches that lead to Little River, adding stormwater runoff that contributes to overloading and flooding. Runoff water from CFB Comox and other developments such as the proposed Harbour View Landing and Costco exacerbate the problem, he added. “Residents believe that all of these unmanaged stormwater projects will lead to more frequent and severe flooding,” Harrison said. While they credit Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Area B director Jim Gillis for investigating the problem, Harrison said residents are frustrated with the lack of accountability for solving the problem. “Upgrading the ditches will help, but there has to be rerouting and management of existing and future stormwater sources to prevent major flood damage,” Harrison said. He notes the CVRD has no formal involvement with stormwater management.In the regional district’s view, the province requested a stormwater management plan for Kincora but did not develop a plan for the greater area, said CVRD manager of planning operations Tom Knight. Kincora developer Kip Keylock said one-third of the water from the air force base was diverted down Seal Road to the ocean, which relieved pressure from previous flows through the west side of the property.  “There has been flooding long before we developed the property, and it is due in large part to the vast amount of water coming off the base and adjoining lands, and the restriction of flow to the ocean,” said Keylock, also the developer of the proposed Harbour View project in the Jackson Drive area near the Little River ferry terminal.He recalls about 30 people attended a public meeting that addressed the issue before construction began at Kincora. “Our extensive stormwater management plan was designed to manage the flow of water coming into and going out of our property.”But Harrison points out that further construction at Kincora will mean more stormwater runoff in Little River, which is already overloaded during winter storms.He would like the CVRD to conduct a flooding study that takes into account present and future issues — as recommended in 1983 when the Little River overflow was built. “There are solutions to the flooding problems, but presently there is little interest by any level of government in addressing the concerns,” Harrison said. reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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