Carolina Beach taking steps to eliminate flooding on Canal Drive

Carolina Beach taking steps to eliminate flooding on Canal Drive

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Town leaders in Carolina Beach have come up with a draft ordinance for bulkhead maintenance to eliminate flooding along Canal Drive.

Called the Private/Public Tidal Containment Initiative, the plan is to update tidal flow barriers and containment facilities, such as bulkheads.

High tides in the Myrtle Grove Sound sometimes flood Canal Drive and other connecting roadways. Private property worth $3 million is affected by tidal flooding in Carolina Beach.

“All of the improvements needed to be done is to the private residents that own the structures,” says Dale Walters, chairman of the Canal Drive Flooding Advisory Committee. “Anything we do would be pertinent to the land owner and there’s an issue there because we can’t spend public funds on private improvements.”

Local governments in North Carolina are constitutionally limited by the state regarding several operative elements of the proposed draft ordinance.

One of the main conflicts is making use of private flood and mitigation structures used along with public pump and flood water discharge systems and depend on non-tax funded infrastructure.

“With the homeowners’ permission, the town has gone through and done a three-point survey on every bulkhead from Winner Marina to Joyner Marina,” says Walters. "We’re asking those who have bulkheads to reconstruct those that are not up to acceptable height and give them a time and certain date they have to put them together and that will be in conjunction with the pump systems the town will be putting in. Timing is crucial because one without the other won’t work. "

New heights for the bulkheads would be 5.7 feet above mean sea level (MSL), which according to Walters, will take care of 85-90% of the floods from normal lunar tides.

“Property owners are in charge of the bulkheads but we are looking for grants for the state emergency management or federal emergency management to at least assist people when this goes into effect because this is going to be a two-year time frame and that’s a lot to put on people,” says Walters.

The town plans to partner with other towns and agencies because it’s not just a Carolina Beach problem. Walters said the tidal containment ordinance can be used as a platform for other communities to solve specific problems.

The state level review of the ordinance will provide a practical regulatory platform for regional flood mitigation along the North Carolina coast.

Starting in September, Carolina Beach will hold public information and education programs. Those who own property along Myrtle Grove Sound are urged to come and to speak directly with town officials to help finalize the draft.

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