Golden flood protection committee on hold

A proposal to create a Flood Control Select Committee was defeated at Town Council meeting.

Tuesday Oct. 9 marked the official end of the Bridge to Bridge project as the Loan Authorization bylaw was rescinded.

The project may be over, but the Town’s responsibilities of flood protection and dyking remains. Coun. Keith Hern brought forth a recommendation that a Flood Control Select Committee be formed to review long-term flood control measures.

“I think there’s a lot of talent and experience in the community that could help construct policies on flood control issues. So I’m proposing that a Flood Control Select Committee be formed,” said Hern.

Under his proposal, the committee would, “have a mandate to review long-term flood control measures including enhancements to the existing dyke, in-stream sedimentary management, dyke maintenance and emergency response planning in accordance with our responsibility as a dyke authority.”

The committee, which would be comprised of at least three technically-oriented community volunteers, one councillor and the Manager of Operations for the Town, would also be addressing the “likely build-up of gravel in the Kicking Horse River,” and “review the functionality of the current hydraulic model.”

“I think we need to get on this as soon as possible.” said Hern.

Coun. Caleb Moss disagreed, saying that he supports the idea of community engagement, but does not think that now is the time for such a committee to be formed.

“Perhaps it would be more prudent to hold this conversation until the Asset Management Plan comes in, and then we would know if striking a Roads Committee might be more important,” said Moss, explaining that forming a committee to manage one asset before you know how it will fit in with the Town’s other assets would not be wise.

“Until that (the Asset Management Plan) comes forward I can’t support the formulation of this group at this time.”

Councillors Connie Barlow and Mike Pecora agreed that the timing was wrong, but also had concerns about committee’s mandate, saying that some of the responsibilities listed are actually operational issues taken care of by Town staff, not policy makers.

The motion was defeated by a vote of four to two (Barlow, Pecora, Moss and Mayor Christina Benty against, with Hern and Coun. Ron Oszust voting for).