Higher standards needed to quell storm damage
This week’s flooding on Cape Breton Island exposed deficiencies in Nova Scotia’s Department of Environment (DOE) that leaves taxpayers on the hook for the millions of dollars in repair bills.
According to the Nova Scotia Watercourse Standards Guide Lines (available online), culverts and bridges should be built to withstand what has been described a hundred year storm.
We haven’t had a hundred year storm but major storm damage continues to happen province wide and of which political party is in power.
It amazes me that common sense is not being used. You can watch crews replace a culvert that was washed out with the same sized pipe even though a larger one is needed to handle the flow.
Perhaps there is a huge deficiency in training and expertise when the DOE is unable to calculate the proper size, placement, etc., of these structures to withstand a hundred year storm. Clearly more post-secondary education is needed. Engineering technologists or hydrologists are the only qualified people able to do the complicated calculations and design of these structures. Instead, the province promotes a three-to-five day course that it helped design.
The weather is not the problem. It is the approved structures’ inability to handle the flows. Why is there no accountability when debris that builds up at culverts and bridges and beaver dams is not removed? Drive up to Middle River at the Gold Brook bridge to see this amply demonstrated. Is there no common sense that tells them on-going maintenance is required? The old adage “A stitch in time saves nine” is still true today.
As taxpayers we must get this message across loud and clear. It’s about time we stopped meekly accepting their excuse that the weather is the problem.
Lillian MacLeod Baddeck