St. Martin

Jun 12, 2012 7:21 PM by Jenise Fernandez

Stephensville Residents Debate Over St. Martin Parish's "Flood Proof" Plan

Plans are underway to flood-proof the Stephensville area in lower St. Martin Parish. It's practically the lowest point in St. Martin Parish and residents say a hard rain floods them out. The plan is now to build a sheet pile, floodgates, and pumps to keep water from seeping out onto streets and into homes. The parish government has nearly $2 million in funding available, but engineers don't have a blueprint just yet.

Elwood Scully has lived in Stephensville his whole life. He says residents panic whenever a storm rolls through.

"Our streets and infrastructure flood, our sewage along the streets flood," Scully said.

Scully thinks the Parish's plan to flood-proof the area with a sheet pile and floodgates is the only way to keep water out.

"Floods only bring frustration, anxiety, and lack of peace of mind," he said.

He's going door-to-door collecting signatures to show the parish government this is what the residents want and need.

"Where we're located here, we are on the south end of a drainage system that drains nowhere," he added.

So far, Scully has collected 167 signatures, but not everyone shares his views.

Earl King Jr. has spent thousands of dollars on newspaper ads, telling residents to "beware." He says the Parish's plan to build a four-foot sheet pile isn't going to do much against a storm surge.

"I don't want the public to have a false sense of security. Four feet is not enough flood protection," he said.

King thinks Stephensville does need flood protection, but is worried mostly about the environmental effects.

"This sheet pile would impact the cypress wetlands that are adjacent to the canal," he said.

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