Business group moves in to protect Maple Pool

BY PHILIP ROUND, COMOX VALLEY ECHO NOVEMBER 1, 2013
As the legal action over Maple Pool Campground drags on with no sign of an early resolution,
a group of local businesspeople has taken direct action to help protect residents from
potential winter floods. Over two days, a wall of 100 locked concrete blocks has been erected
alongside the most vulnerable part of the site beside the Tsolum River.
The aim of the relatively low but heavyweight wall is not to stop flooding as such -that would
be a bonus. Rather it is to restrain and deflect any fast-flowing river currents once the storm
season begins. Courtenay City Hall was informed that direct action was to be taken, said one
of the businesspeople involved, Mike Hamilton of Mike Hamilton Logging Ltd.
But the group made clear they were not prepared to wait for formal permission when the
weather was already on the turn and more than 50 vulnerable people were living on the site.
“Those people had to come first -we couldn’t just sit around going through a process and
waiting for a permit,” he told the Echo.
“In any case, what we have done is only a temporary measure and, if necessary, it could be
changed or even removed.”
The businesspeople had previously offered to help bring the privately-owned site up to flood
risk standards acceptable to the City.
Last week they decided it was incumbent on them to take interim pre-winter steps because
the City had said was pursuing its legal action over the site’s zoning because of safety
concerns.
Although no permissions were sought or granted, Hamilton said a group of experts had met
on site to discuss what temporary measures might be most effective while avoiding damage
to any habitats.
In addition to people in construction and hauling, they included the
Comox Valley’s emergency program coordinator, Mike Fournier, engineer Andrew Gower,
and biologist Tom Broadley.
Fournier, said Hamilton, was able to indicate from previous experience where the river could
jump its banks during high flows, and expressed particular concern about strong currents.
With that information, the shortterm focus was put on tackling that specific issue, helped by
Keith Tatton of Cumberland Ready Mix offering to supply 100 heavyweight concrete blocks at
cost price, and other contractors pitching in with transport, heavy equipment and labour.
Crown Isle Fall Golf Hamilton said within the next two to three weeks a more substantial
proposal would be put to City Hall for more permanent works, which could include bringing
the site up to 100-year flood projection levels.
That might involve raising the land surface by 1.5 to 2 feet in the areas where trailers and RVs
are, or might be, sited.
The City would have time to discuss that proposal and suggest alternatives, but for now it was
hoped the deflecting barrier would ease any short-term issues.
Site owners Jin and Dali Lin are emotional in their appreciation about the work that has been
done so quickly after so many months of ongoing legal uncertainty.
“That was incredible -a great job was done in just two days by some very generous and very
kind people,” said Jin Lin.
Specials “A ‘Great Wall’ has just been built at Maple Pool. Millions of thanks to Mr. Hamilton
and to everyone who helped him build it and who are trying so hard to help all the people who
call Maple Pool their home.”
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