Researchers and Upper Lake Melville residents have agreed to disagree as to the reasons why Mud Lake flooded this spring.
About 30 people attended a public meeting in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL on the preliminary research results on the flooding last night.
Meetings in Mud Lake and Happy Valley-Goose Bay were held for researchers to garner feedback from residents.
Dave Brown of KGS Group, and Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt of the University of Saskatchewan are conducting the research, and presented their findings at the meetings.
The initial findings from researchers list the main reasons as rain in late November, a rapid spring runoff and possible sediment build up.
People living in the affected area, however, blame the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development.
Brown said their assessment with the data didn’t conclude that [Muskrat] being there was significant.”
Despite those findings, residents still vehemently believe Muskrat is the reason they were evacuated from their homes during the early-morning hours of May 17.
Melissa Best, chair of the Mud Lake Improvement Committee, attended both meetings.
She says the only thing that wasn’t a factor in their study was Muskrat Falls.
However, she states that there is absolutely no doubt in her mind the flooding was caused by the Muskrat Falls project.
According to Best, they want to be assured that the flooding won’t happen again.
She again stated that she wants to see the methyl mercury study continued, as well as an independent study of the North Spur.
One of the concerns voiced by residents was around the data itself.
Best felt that the researcher’s data was very limited.
She says that the thickness of the ice was caused by the Muskrat Falls project, and that directly contributed to the flooding in the Mud Lake area.
A more extensive flood forecasting system was listed Thursday as one of the potential solutions researchers will include in their report.
Other options include coordinating water management plans with Churchill Falls, raising flood-prone buildings and roads, constructing dykes, expanding the reservoir, and considering buying out residents.
Best said she found the possibility of relocation insulting.
Best added she was very disappointed with the researcher’s conclusions.
According to Best, Muskrat Falls toyed with Mother Nature, and Mother Nature won.
The plausible explanations for flooding given on Thursday are strictly preliminary.
The final, official report is due out later this month.
With files Courtesy of CBC.ca