City may need to do something with Corner Brook Stream to prevent high water levels

Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK  The city will be taking a look at Corner Brook Stream to determine if it can do anything to prevent high water levels in the area of the Main Street bridge in the future.

Heavy rain overnight Saturday and into Sunday caused ice to move down the stream and the water around the bridge to rise. As a precautionary measure, the city closed the bridge to traffic for part of the day until the water began to recede.

It’s not the first time in the last year that the bridge has been closed due to high water levels, but it is something that appears to be happening more often.

“I think it’s because the stream hasn’t been dredged for years,” said Mayor Charles Pender on Monday of a possible reason water levels in the area seem to be higher at times.

“As far as I can recall Corner Brook Pulp and Paper used to at one time come further up the stream and dredge it in the summer.”

The mayor said now when the weather warms up, particularly in the summer, there are times when there is very little water in the stream and the stream bed is quite visible.

“There appears to be a lot of siltation, a lot of build up there,” said Pender. “That’s something we want to look at and see is there something we need to do there to allow the water to pass under the bridge. The bed is pretty high and closer to the bridge, probably than it ever was.”

As for the bridge itself, Pender said it is regularly inspected and is in good condition.

“But any time we have an event like this where we have some concerns we’ll certainly go and do an inspection around the abutment and the bridge itself,” he said.

Overall it appears being prepared paid off for the city over the weekend.

In anticipation of the forecasted rain, the city put its Hurricane Response Plan into effect for the second time in a week over the weekend. Part of that plan involved monitoring the stream.

“The night before we did go into Bell’s Brook in front of the old city hall and also along the Corner Brook Stream and we pulled the ice out of it,” said Pender.

He said an excavator was located at the bridge throughout Sunday as city crews continued to monitor the situation. Excavators and backhoes were also strategically located at other known problem areas in the city.

He said there was some flooding in a home in the Reid Street area that city crews assisted with and he’s heard reports of other people getting water in their basements.

While the rain did make for some messy driving conditions on Sunday the main streets were pretty much clear on Monday. However, ice buildup was evident on a lot of side roads. Pender said crews constantly apply salt and sand to the roads and on mild days will get out and try to scrape down as much of the ice as possible.

The weather also led to the appearance of several potholes around the city.

The mayor said these will be marked as soon as they are identified and will be filled where possible.

“It’s a constant battle and I suspect it will be right until we can pave them,” said Pender.

He also expects to see more waterline breaks as the snowcover, which acts as insulation, is removed to prepare for more snow or water runoff.

Geographic location: Reid Street

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Recent comments

  • Senior Citizen
    January 14, 2014 - 07:13

    It was a regular thing to see Corner Brook Stream being dredged when I was growing up in the town (back then it was a town). The silt level is extemely high in recent years. It does not look kept up ...... and it is beautiful when it is. Mayor Pender is right in thinking to have it dredged.

  • Jack
    January 14, 2014 - 06:40

    Since most of Downtown Corner Brook is built along a flood plane or even reclaimed land, and the two bridges are built too low, the only options are to either dredge Corner Brook Stream or build a higher bridge. The other solution is to get "The Weather Network", Environment Canada, and Farmer's Almanac to stop lying to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians all the time, especially promises of snowy and cold winters only to get three rain storms in less than two weeks.