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Letter to the Editor: Unblocking culverts is essential in flood control

Two key players in water drainage in the Pemberton Valley are not functioning, write a Mount Currie resident
Pemberton valley bc dave steers
Looking northwest up the Pemberton Valley.

(This letter was sent to Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Lana Popham, BC Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, and Mike Farnworth, BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and shared with Pique.)

Imagine a plugged bathtub with the water running and no one ever turns the faucet off. What do you see?

What I pictured was water spilling over when I learned that the culverts in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) at Highway 99 in Mount Currie are blocked. Does the water spill at the site? Or over the rim? If you chose the latter then you may understand why groundwater is backing up in places in Pemberton, the SLRD and Mount Currie but not yet flowing over the highway at the site of the culverts.

Two key players in water drainage in the Pemberton Valley are not functioning. The culverts are located at the Grandmothers Slough where they lead water under the highway towards the Birkenhead River. One has been permanently blocked since the beginning of June 2021 and the second culvert requires manual unblocking daily. If you take a drive by the culverts, 800 metres north of the Chevron Gas station, you will see an unusually large pooling of water on one side with the down-flow side about a metre lower. The water flow through the culverts is minimal.

Go to some areas in the valley that rely on that drainage and you will see the pooling— anywhere from as far away as the Pemberton Plateau, the Pemberton Industrial yard, downtown Mount Currie, along Highway 99, on side streets and into your yards. The distance is in kilometres and the volume of water is enormous. Yet, at the end of the channel, the flow is a mere trickle.

I urge the BC Ministers of Transportation, Agriculture and Public Safety to immediately rectify this problem for the sake of people’s personal safety, their economic livelihood and the viability of agricultural businesses.

Shireen Sumariwalla // Mount Currie