The K-Beach High Water Drainage Task Force is moving forward with a focus on public awareness.
Two subcommittees were formed during an April 27 meeting, to organize outreach through social media and research the possibility of video documentation on the 2013 flooding and aftermath. The group is also putting more focus on bridging the gap between the borough government and itself.
“I think very few people know what’s actually going on out there,” said borough assembly member and task force member Kelly Wolf.
Wolf said the task force has been doing a good job at allowing the public to be involved in identifying potential projects that ultimately aim to help alleviate and understand the flooding that has taken place.
“They need to come to assembly meetings and make their voices heard,” Wolf said. “The people need to keep their elected officials’ feet to the fire.”
Task force member Sherron Collins, who will be working on developing a social media presence, said she believes the group is the “best kept secret on the peninsula.”
The goal is to have a point of reference for the public that contains information on task force meetings discussions and minutes, Collins said. She also hopes to create a forum where residents may voice concerns, and read about potential and developing projects, she said.
“I think we are doing a good job keeping to our original goals, but a lot of people don’t even know we exist and why, ” Collins said.
Collins lives on Eastway Road. She joined the task force last fall to help identify solutions for affected homeowners such as herself. As recently as last year her septic system was flooded during heavy rain in June.
“That is completely unprecedented in this location, and I have been here for 27 years,” Collins said.
The task force is developing projects based on the idea that excessive flooding will occur again, said task force co-chair Jim Munter. Having systems in place to prevent property damage and identifying entities that can accomplish those systems are two of the objectives of the task force, he said.
“I think the first time this happened everyone was surprised with the magnitude of it,” Munter said. “You only get to be surprised once.”
At Tuesday’s 6 p.m. borough assembly meeting, Munter will be giving a 10-minute presentation on the task force’s purpose and plans. He said he will also be asking the borough to support construction of the Seventh Street Storm Water Conveyance Structure.
The 2-mile drainage ditch was intended to divert up to 23 million gallons of floodwater per day from Buoy Avenue to a beaver pond beside Eider Drive near Kalifornsky Beach Road, but the K-Beach Flood Mitigation Project, the entity originally managing the project, recently backed out.
Munter said the task force is now speaking with other organizations that might be interested in picking up developing the structure.
Producing a feasibility study that would cover the larger scope of flooding-related issues is another immediate concern, Munter said.
The feasibility study does not have a set timeline, Munter said. The first step is identifying a source of funding.
Wolf said the feasibility study would be a productive way of educating the public. He recommended requesting funding for the project from the borough assembly.
“Since the November 17 meeting, we have both added a small number and lost a small number,” Munter said. “We have met monthly for six months with attendance of about 20 to 50 people at each of our meetings.”
Munter said the task force should be thinking about projects in both the short-term and long-term.
“I believe projects can be done to reduce future flood damage and we want everybody to be on-board with good successful projects,” Munter said.
The task force’s next scheduled meeting is August 24.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.