CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Most want to see positive growth in Southwest Louisiana. Yet some have positively had it with growth they think is causing flooding and drainage problems.
Many people are desperate for solutions to flooding, whether they've become stranded in cars or have seen damage to their homes.
"I've had enough of this - I can't take it anymore!" said one woman, exasperated after damage from a recent deluge.
The Calcasieu Police Jury staff has been working on an ordinance to improve drainage, which made for lively discussion at the Alliance for Positive Growth among members and non-members alike.
"The heartburn with the drainage thing is they have no plan, no long-range plan to handle drainage," said concerned citizen Charlie Atherton.
While alliance members strive to maintain cooperation with elected officials, they feel the proposed ordinance is premature.
"Before any ordinance is passed, or any more water retention ponds built, there needs to be a true master plan of the entire area," said Alliance for Positive Growth (APG) president Matt Redd.
He says roadside ditches and drainage canals need to be cleaned out and fixed.
"A: they need to clean their ditches, and they need to fix their culverts and fix the laterals, and there's a litany of things that need to be done," said Redd.
He says they need to do that before passing ordinances that hit business and developers in the wallet.
"It costs money. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to implement some of these items they have in this ordinance. Like what? Water retention ponds. You're not allowed to put any excess water into the ditches," said Redd.
And he says the ordinance affects individuals, too.
"The young couple just getting married, when the developer has to step in and spend tens of thousands of dollars on these systems that are going to be required, that aren't really going to fix the problem, then that cost is going to get passed on to the consumer," said Redd.
Calcasieu administrator Bryan Beam says they have had a plan in place for dealing with drainage since 2015, with three critical parts:
- Better drainage standards for new development
- Ongoing drainage infrastructure projects to address existing problems.
- Effective and efficient operations and maintenance of drainage systems.
Beam says work is ongoing and that all three parts need to happen simultaneously. Beam says the parish has made changes based on input from the APG.
The Calcasieu Police Jury Drainage Committee takes up revisions to parish drainage ordinances on August 8.
The planning and zoning board and the police jury will tentatively take up the ordinance at their meetings August 22 and August 24.