By Lauren Zaepfel
At Monday night's Town of Wheatfield Town Board meeting, Debbie Bentley of Wilrose Court asked the council members and Highway Superintendent Paul Siegmann what was being done to deal with flooding in her neighborhood's roadway.
Bentley's home is situated in front of a lake, which can overflow after periods of rain or after heavy snow melts, leading to drainage issues.
She said the roadway recently flooded for an entire three-day period. Bentley stated it was an "unacceptable situation" for those affected.
She inquired if regular maintenance logs were kept, as well as if annual cleanups of the pipes could be done.
Siegmann said checks are done on the pipes on a monthly basis, if not more. Pipes are regularly cleaned out when blockage or other issues arise.
Siegmann said the recent flooding arose after a compilation of irregular weather, including heavy snow, rain and more snow.
He said he measured approximately 6 inches of water on the center of the roadway in Bentley's neighborhood.
Bentley said flooding issues have continued to resurface in this area since she moved there a decade ago.
"I remember when I first came into office eight years ago it took 10 days to come down. ... It used to be a lot worse, and now it's better," Cliffe said.
"It's still unacceptable," Bentley said.
To further counter the flooding issue in the past, the town has worked with the City of North Tonawanda to pay for the use of one of its existing pipes to allow the town to connect an outfall to the Niagara River.
"We now have two 36-inch-diameter pipes at the end of a 1,000 foot long ditch, access to move water out of Wheatfield into the river," Cliffe said.
He said the town has also removed obstructions in areas that would that would restrict water flow, such as removing beaver dams.
The town also put an anti-backflow gate that would prevent water from returning to the lake and cleaned the pipes and ditches running from the lake to the river.
Overall, Cliffe said more discussion is needed on how to reduce or prevent future flooding.
"There is more thinking for us to do, more discussion for us to have; we need to get the drainage committee together and just see if there is something that we can do, which may be the next step," he said.
On Tuesday, he added, "Water will find its way to the lowest areas and a portion of Wilrose Court is lower than the lake when it (is) high. We need to find a way to either prevent the water from getting to the road, or keeping the lake from getting that high."
In other news:
•The Town Board scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, for the rezoning of property along the Niagara Falls Boulevard from partially commercial and residential to entirely commercial. The location for the hearing is still to be determined, but will likely be either the Town Hall or Wheatfield Community Center.
"This would be a public hearing on that issue, so we could actually take action after that," Cliffe said. He added, it is "very important that we get input from as many people as we possibly can. So, if you live anywhere near the boulevard, you might want to be there for that meeting. If you're ... interested, you might want to be there for that meeting."
•Cleanup efforts are slated to take place in Wheatfield over the next two weekends. First, the Spring 2017 Shoreline Sweep, hosted by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 22, at Bergholtz Creek. For more information, visit http://wheatfield.ny.us/DocumentCenter/View/1503.
Then, the Liberty Drive Cleanup will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 29. Participants will meet in the parking lot of Frontier firehall, 2179 Liberty Drive. The event is put on with help from the town, Frontier Fire Co. and volunteers from Cub Scout Pack 833 (of Adams Fire Co.). To volunteer, contact Town of Wheatfield Deputy Supervisor Larry L. Helwig at 716-583-8496.