Thursday, 9 January 2014

Mayor comments on North Down battle against flood waters

Cllr Muir at Kinnegar on Friday 3 January 2014
I joined in efforts to battle against tidal surges in recent days and the resulting flood waters which engulfed the Kinnegar area in Holywood, Boathouse Restaurant in Bangor and Groomsport Harbour area. 250 sandbags were deployed by the Council and Rivers Agency in the Kinnegar area, Holywood.

With Northern Ireland prepared for unprecedented tidal levels from Friday 3 January to Monday 6 January 2014 I kept in constant contact with North Down Borough Council’s Emergency Planning Officer. When Friday’s tidal surge resulted in flooding of the Esplanade at Kinnegar, Holywood I was immediately on site and was relieved when flood waters missed most homes although disappointed a few garages were affected and hope the clean-up operation for residents concerned will not be too onerous. Availability of sand bags from the Army on Friday morning and Police officers on Friday and Monday afternoons in Holywood to re-direct traffic to alternative access route via Airport Road was also appreciated with flooding blocking the main entrance to Kinnegar from the A2 for over two hours on each day.

With water stopping just inches from homes in Groomsport and Kinnegar I was glad to see request for additional sandbags met by North Down Borough Council and the Rivers Agency. I am however extremely saddened to hear that the Boathouse Restaurant in Bangor sustained some flood damage on Friday but grateful to Council officers for the provision of a pump plus assistance to clear the basement of water as well as cleaning up the area. Good news is the renowned Boat House Restaurant is now back in business and due to re-open on Tuesday 7 January 2013.

With three cars apparently damaged as a result of flood waters in the Kinnegar area on Monday, Boat House Restaurant flooded on Friday plus Groomsport Harbour Master’s Office, Cockle Row Cottages and the public conveniences building in Groomsport Harbour affected lessons can be learned about areas now at risk when tidal surges arise allowing allocation of resources to these areas if sea levels rise beyond usual levels.

The Kinnegar seawall defences have again proved their worth holding back most of the tidal surge and saving many properties from significant flooding. Whilst a number of rats did emerge from these defences during the tidal surge on Friday all thankfully returned to the walls and will hopefully never be seen again!. My colleague Councillor Larry Thompson was on site on Monday afternoon and also witnessed flooding of the A2 Kinnegar entrance which occurs on a much more regular basis than is acceptable. Cllr Thompson therefore plans to raise this ongoing problem with relevant authorities to explore possibilities of a permanent solution.

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