Mayor evaluates post-flood realities, shopping local, and future infrastructure plans
The rain has relented, but dampening effects remain on everything from infrastructure to commerce in Castlegar, according to mayor Lawrence Chernoff.
Chernoff said the local hospitality industry has taken a serious hit due to recent weather anomolies.
“I’ve talked to hotels, and business is down as much as 30 per cent – it is scary,” he said, adding the primary problem seems to be media coverage that has left people from elsewhere in the province or Canada believing the entire West Kootenay is either underwater or buried in a mudslide.
“They’re not getting the whole picture, the positive stuff, and the beautiful weather now, and that there’s still lots to do.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that shopping local is important now more than ever – without our support now, (businesses) may not be able to provide us with local shopping opportunities later on.”
He said the city is now actively at work catching up with flood damage – city director of public works Chris Barlow said Millennium Park is partly open (the field portion and first look-out, but not the still-submerged walkway), while Zuckerberg Island remains closed.
“We need an engineer to look at the bridge to be sure it’s safe before we re-open it,” Barlow said, adding the causeway is once again visible as the river receeds, but it, too, remains closed. “The causeway endured the river quite well, but requires some remedial repairs before we can open it again.”
He said city crews are wrapping up work at Cone Hill today and will start on repairing minor washouts like road shoulders and parking lots tomorrow.
As for what’s to come, Chernoff said a re-evaluationof the placement of the lazy river and pools slated for development in Millennium Park will have to take place.
“We have to prepare for the possibility that this could happen allt he time now, even if it’s only a once-every-50-years occurrence,” he said in regard to recent flooding. “We’re not going to spend all that money on something that could get washed away – all we need to know is that it could happen again, and build with that in mind.”