UPDATED Nov 20 – Added PDF of handout to end of article
As a result of the flood of 2018 a new set of floodplain maps needed to be created (the previous ones had been made in the early 90s). This is important for various reasons: Safety, Zoning Bylaws, City and Land Use Planning to name a few.
Previous mapping efforts employed the capabilities of the field at that time – and the results reflected that. New technologies such as LIDAR have improved the field significantly since then enabling a more precise data set. Coupled with advances in computer systems this has made the results of simulation modeling of water flow, and where it goes, much better.
Urban Systems has been a major participant in this process and on Monday Nov 18 two of their team, Senior Planner Joel Short and Professional Engineer Cameron Gatey, came out to present the results and discuss the ramifications to the town and its land-use-related laws.
In addition Recovery Manager Graham Watt, Mayor Taylor, some council members and city staff were present to help explain and answer questions.
About 50 people attended the event in the GFSS auditorium.
On Nov 15, 2019 the property owners facing Buy-outs, as a result of the 2018 flood, held a demonstration on the bridge from downtown to their area, Ruckle. After the demo at the bridge they proceeded down to city hall where the Mayor and Recovery Manager met with them.
The Mayor talked with some of the demonstrators and then the Recovery Manager, Graham Watt, took over. They talked outside in front of the cenotaph for a half hour and then adjourned to the indoors where they could sit and be warm.
One of the concerns they express is the way they have been cast as ‘victims’ in all of this. It is felt that victim sends the wrong message – one of people with their hands out looking for help from the rest of us.
They do not see themselves that way, rather they are property owners engaged in a negotiation with the City about real estate transactions.
That they are NOT asking for a hand-out but only that they be dealt with fairly and responsibly under the laws that govern this situation. Laws that have legal considerations on estimating what they should be paid for what they are giving up. Because they are giving up a lot so the rest of the city can be safer. And the choice to do that is out of their hands.
They have many concerns about the process, how it has gone (or not) so far and how it will progress.
Their lives are in a sort of limbo while they wait for forces outside their control to decide what will happen to them. As any mental health professional will tell you that is a recipe for problems.
I’ve got video of the demo on the bridge and the conversation outside. It was felt that the inside conversation should be kept within the group – they’re beginning to experience some negative responses from citizens not in the group facing buyouts.