QUESTION: Plans for a Walmart-based shopping center near Olympia have focused attention on flooding and water quality issues. What is your solution to these environmental concerns and how would you pay for it?
We must strike a balance between allowing desirable growth and safeguarding our community against flooding and run-off pollution. New developments should include protection against run-off pollution (berms, green space, etc.) and builders should include them in their development plans. I support retention ponds, rain barrel system and incentives to encourage re-use of vacant “big-box” stores. Also worth noting: Charleston recently received funding from the State Infrastructure Bank to build the underground drainage infrastructure necessary to alleviate flooding.
I support the Rocky Branch Watershed Alliance that has been formed to preserve the watershed and to address the root causes of drainage problems. Major drainage improvement projects like the Five Points streetscaping project and MLK Park improvements require long-term planning and funding from a variety of sources. Maintenance and cleaning out the drainage system is as important as the capacity of the system. I support maintenance and cleaning crews for the city’s drainage system.
I will work to make flooding problems in District 3 a thing of the past. I support restoring the Rocky Branch Creek. I will lead efforts to make sure water and sewer funds are spent only on improving and upgrading our water and sewer system. I will also lead efforts to reduce Columbia’s carbon footprint, make city government energy-efficient and promote “park and ride” programs like Charleston’s to ensure compliance with federal highway standards.
Flash flooding occurs along Rocky Branch Creek when heavy rainfall overwhelms the system and water has no place to infiltrate into the ground. Two possible solutions: Make pipes carrying the runoff bigger and faster or create more green space so overflow has a chance to filter into the ground. Most civil engineers and environmental scientists prefer the latter. Eliminate transfers from the Water/Sewer Operating Fund to the General Fund, and you could fund a creek restoration project.