Town not prepared to fix the problem itself
© Darrell Cole - Amherst Daily News
New culverts up stream are not the cause of flooding of Dickey Brook in the Terrace Street area. While it's not prepared to fix the problem, the towns to organize a meeting of all the stakeholders to dicuss possible solutions.
AMHERST – New culverts upstream are not causing flooding on the lower part of Dickey Brook that’s causing flooding on Terrace Street.
An engineering assessment released Monday says occasional flooding of the brook is caused by the insufficient capacity of the brook to handle the discharge during a large runoff.
“The simultaneous occurrence of a high tide during this event contributes to the extent of the flooding. Climatological changes including rising sea levels and more frequent heavier rainfall events will make flooding more frequent,” McCullough Environmental Engineering said in its report that was presented to council during its June committee-of-the-whole meeting.
Residents on the west side of Terrace Street closest to where the brook leaves Amherst said heavy rain events have caused flooding at the back of their properties and they want the town to fix the issue. They believe the culverts on Charles and Academy streets are causing the problem.
The town is not prepared to do the work itself, but wants to organize a meeting of all the stakeholders, including Natural Resources and the Municipality of Cumberland, to look at options.
“The key point is it’s on their property,” Amherst’s director of planning Jason MacDonald said. “As a rule we don’t do work on private property.”
MacDonald said if the town were to do the work to fix the problem it could be setting a precedent it probably doesn’t want to set. The solution, he said, is not a town backhoe on private property.
In his report, the engineer said solutions include dredging the brook in the area or raising the affected properties.
The report said the LaPlanche River is silted to the point that water levels in ditches, brooks and rivers upstream do not drain as much as they had in the past. As a result, Etter’s Brook does not completely drain at low tide and should a higher tide occur at the same time as a peak runoff there is potential the three properties on Terrace Street will flood even if the brook is dredged.
Ben Pitman, the director of transportation, said heavy rainfall events are increasing because of climate change and he said it is impacting the brook.
Coun. Terry Rhindress feels the town should help since the brook runs through town. Pitman said the town does not own the brook, it just runs through the community.Rhindress said if it were his land he wouldn’t stop until something was done. He suggested the town ask the county to clean out the lower part of the brook outside Amherst to increase water flow.