Residents hope for permanent solution to flooding in Annie Lake Road area – Yukon News

As the higher than normal winter snowpack begins to melt, some landowners in the Annie Lake Road and South Klondike Highway area are already seeing a return of the water that flowed freely over their land on last spring.

The source of the flood appears to be Lake McConnell, just off Lake Annie Road. At present, it is not easy to discern where the lake ends and the property owned by Neil and Meagan Gillis begins. This is their second source on the property and the second that has seen meltwater pouring out of the swamp adjacent to their home.

High water pours down their driveway, saturating nearby land leading to dead trees and rushing near their house to pool alongside before flowing further down the slope. Ducks and at least one muskrat could be seen swimming just yards from their doorstep and an old shack they use for storage was flooded.

Neil said the government had discussed a permanent drainage plan which does not cross their property but instead redirects water into the Watson River. This would prevent him from following the route he took last year to the homes along the South Klondike Highway. Last spring, water from McConnell Lake overran the berm created by the disused White Pass and Yukon Line railroad, causing at least one property closer to the highway to flash flood.

Phone and email exchanges with government officials over the past few weeks have left Neil with the impression that the drainage work will not be done this spring.

“It was supposed to take place last fall, everything was fine. Everyone seemed to be on board. And then nothing happened,” he said.

Neil said earlier this year calls were made to local MPs and emails to the government’s Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) but nothing was done apart from a team examining the property forest fire management. The forest fire had helped with sandbags last spring. He said it looks like it’s all the help they can count on.

Neil said he has been advised that they are more or less on their own for this year and should consider putting a temporary dam in place, but he is concerned that any berms or dams they put in place will not push the water towards Annie Lake Road.

He says they are lucky because their house is on high ground and it would take a lot more water to reach it. With deep mud holes already formed on their driveway, he said he was worried about losing access, but they have reinforced the driveway and plan to re-do it when it dries up. Meagan said they are considering raising their access road and would have to install culverts if they do, but don’t think that helps the situation for properties at risk of flooding further down the river. hill.

EMO says they are still monitoring the flooding situation closely with site visits from Wildland Fire crews over the past week.

“On each visit, Wildland Fire Management teams assess water levels in the area and check in with potentially affected residents. According to our latest assessment, the waters appear to have started to recede in the area. We continue to monitor the area and work with homeowners to ensure they have the support needed to keep their homes dry,” an EMO representative said.

“We were encouraged to see property owners in the area taking individual preparedness measures, such as building berms and planning for potential flooding.”

The rep said there are fewer permit requirements in place for building these types of berms on private property than elsewhere, but work near waterways does require permits. They said residents should be aware of the impacts of berms or dams and seek help in designing them to mitigate risk.

The government also said it had not abandoned long-term drainage plans or other mitigation measures for the area. The government official said assessments are underway and drone footage is being collected to help inform planning. The results of this work are awaited before deciding whether the drainage work can continue this spring.

Contact Jim Elliot at [email protected]

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