Barrie City Hall is keeping climate change in mind as it strives to prevent flooding, especially near the downtown core.
Design is underway on some new culverts, channels, and waterway widenings, including along Dunlop St. near Barrie’s downtown core. In October of last year, Dunlop had to be closed for a time, after over two feet of floodwaters covered the roadway. A similar flood closed the roadway in 2005.
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Stew Patterson, Barrie’s Director of Construction, says the new designs should prevent that. “There have been issues there in the past, with flooding and the way the water has been conveyed, especially through storms. We will be replacing the existing culvert with one of a greater size, and also day lighting, or opening up the channels on either side of Dunlop, to better convey the water and avoid issues of flooding we’ve seen in the past.”
In order to do this, two Barrie businesses had to close: Sticky Fingers Bar and Grill, and The Knights Inn motel. The City of Barrie expects to demolish the two, and some adjacent properties, to make way for a new channel through the area. Patterson says there isn’t a firm timeline yet. “We’re just working out what will happen this year, but there will be construction. The Stickey Fingers and the motel will be demolished shortly, and the channel works will likely start shortly after. We’re working on the timing to make sure everything can be constructed this year.”
Patterson tells Barrie 360 they have to keep a changing climate in mind when designing these systems. “We’re seeing rainfall events more frequently, and higher intensity rain storms. We’ve taken that into account in the designs, with climate change. The new infrastructure will convey more flows and minimize flooding.”
City Hall recently voted to acquire privately-owned land on St. Vincent near the 400, in order to move ahead with a storm water management expansion. Improvements to the system will increase storage volume of stormwater, and reduce the risk of flooding downstream. Buying the land is the preferred method, while negotiations will soon get underway.