EDITORIAL: Parry’s insanity

This decades-long flooding problem near Parksville deserves better than what it is getting from the RDN, the province and the feds

First, the positive from last week’s torrential downpours and flooding:

First responders (firefighters, RCMP, paramedics, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue volunteers) have never demonstrated their value more than they did last week. From Dashwood to the Englishman River and all points between, these people responded quickly and professionally to some dangerous incidents. We are fortunate to count them among us, and the fact that many of them are volunteers only adds to the evidence of their impressive and obvious dedication.

Now for the not-so-positive:

How many times must Martindale Road and Parry’s RV Park flood before government officials do something to protect these people and their property?

Almost every time there’s a heavy rain — never mind the extraordinary events of last week — that road floods and many houses face peril. Also, there are dozens of homes down Martindale Road that may or may not experience flooding, but they are cut off from the world because their main artery has become impassible.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, what word can be associated with doing nothing over and over again and expecting a different result? Dare we say negligence?

Joe Stanhope cares about the people and neighbourhoods he represents at the Regional District of Nanaimo board table. That is not in question. And he’s right when he says this particular spot in his electoral area is unique because it is grandfathered in relation to certain zoning and bylaw requirements. And yes, dealing with anything near the Englishman River close to the estuary means involving the provincial and federal governments, which causes maddening delays.

We also know Chairman Joe to be a practical man, someone who has experience dealing with land and weather in these parts more than anyone else we know. He has shown vision dealing with issues (sewage treatment, for example) in which he has identified the signs and understood their importance.

Which leaves us scratching our heads about this issue. This needs to be addressed now, before the next heavy rainfall event results in a death or multi-million-dollar property loss. Action on this from Stanhope and the RDN is already years late. Let it not sit another month before engineers and construction crews, working with the landowners, find and install a solution.

— Editorial by John Harding

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