Initial estimates indicate last month’s storm caused about $140,000 worth of infrastructure damage in Courtenay.
The water park, playground and a baseball diamond at Lewis Park sustained damage, as did the LINC Youth Centre across the street. Dove Creek Road was also damaged, along with trails at Puntledge Park, Anderton Avenue and First Street.
The Fifth Street Bridge — which had been closed due to flooding — requires further inspection, along with numerous dikes and culverts, and six major storm water ponds. Replacement costs are not known.
This and other storm-related information was presented Monday to Courtenay council by CAO David Allen — who directed the emergency operations centre at City Hall during the Dec. 9-11 storm — and EOC deputy director David Love.
The severity of the storm resulted in an evacuation notice and the largest-ever flood in Courtenay, according to 51 years of data. It was a one-in-100-year event that eclipsed the floods of 2009 and 2010.
Areas adjacent to the Tsolum, Puntledge and Courtenay rivers were evacuated due to flooding. Love said manhole covers were “squirting like clams” and ejecting in the Puntledge/Tsolum business area.
“We knew there was an extraordinary danger,” he said. “That’s why the RCMP were used.”
Allen said the RCMP helicopter dispatched for aerial imagery was “a great benefit to us.” Social media was also helpful, as was GIS flood modelling used to define the evacuation area.
Maple Pool Campground was evacuated Dec. 9 due to flooding and safety hazards at the low end of the site off Headquarters Road, though some residents refused to leave. Residents were allowed to return Dec. 11. Coun. Doug Hillian suggests concerns about the campsite in 2009 and 2010 were valid.
Coun. Erik Eriksson questioned if BC Hydro could have anticipated the storm and started releasing water sooner from the reservoir. Allen said he wouldn’t want to second-guess the corporation.
A future report to council will include recommended infrastructure improvements.
“We’ve learned a lot from this already,” Allen said. “Clearly, building on a floodplain has challenges.”