A really bad idea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 23, 1998

By Gerald J. McGovern / L’Observateur / September 23, 1998

DEAR EDITOR: (An open letter to Arnold Labat) It would appear that someone had the wisdom to approve the extension of Sugar Ridge several years ago. There apparently was very little thoughtgiven to the effects that such expansion would have on both Sugar Ridge and on New Era Subdivision.

Before the development, the drainage of Sugar Ridge flowed to the north and met the swamp at Fairway Drive and made its way to Lake Maurepas with little problem. Then we expanded Sugar Ridge to the north by raisingwhat used to be the swamp by about 3 feet so the new houses would stay above the swamp.

This eliminated surface drainage of Sugar Ridge to the north and made it dependant upon subsurface drainage to a canal to the north. Thissubsurface drainage is sorely inadequate.

Now, when there is a heavy rain, water flows to Fairway where its northerly path is dammed off and travels due west on the surface of Fairway Drive as a rapidly-flowing river with enough force and depth to wash a small car off the road.

When it hits Cartier Drive it must make a sharp turn north on Cartier and try to find its way into the drainage system of New Era, or travel on the surface of Cartier to the canal on the north.

I relate this story, much belatedly, only because we appear to be adding to the problem with a new expansion of Sugar Ridge to the north. On thesurface this looks like development in an established wetlands and at least questionably legal. However, the access road to the new expansionwill travel east to west at St. Andrew’s and the road will effectively damoff the canal which travels south to north, east of Sugar Ridge.

This canal drains all of the land between Belle Terre and Sugar Ridge. I seeculverts laid out at the area of the new expansion entrance and wonder how carefully the cross-section of these culverts was calculated, keeping in mind the very small grade available. Was this done by someone that youwould bet your home on? If not, I suggest that we’re rapidly running out of time to check this out.

It isn’t difficult to visualize the canal east of Sugar Ridge overflowing onto Fairway and drowning the residents of both Sugar Ridge and New Era.

You really owe the residents of Sugar Ridge and New Era an explanation of the plan and how carefully it was thought out. We already have evidence ofhow carefully the last expansion was designed.

Gerald J. McGovernLaPlace

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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