Positive Outcome from Inaccurate Paris ‘Seawall’ Social Media Post

BRANT COUNTY – County Of Brant officials say there has been a positive outcome to an inaccurate social media post containing a rendering of a large flood wall running through downtown Paris. Officials say, while the post was inaccurate, it has spawned a positive result in creating community engagement and public feedback to the county’s flood plan.

Last week, the chair of the Paris Business Improvement Association posted the rendering on social media depicting a giant concrete structure with the caption ‘Stop the Sea Wall and Save Paris’. The post asked for help contacting county hired engineers and county councillors regarding the Paris Flood Risk Mitigation Environmental Assessment, which is a plan aimed at making Paris more resistant to flooding. That post, and the response to it, prompted the county to issue a media release stating the rendering was inaccurate, and nothing is finalized.

Director of Infrastructure Services for the County of Brant, Mark Eby, and Senior Project Manager for Ecosystem Recovery, the county’s consulting engineering firm, Chris Moon, explains the Facebook post’s warning that September 30th was the deadline for public comment is not valid.

Downtown Paris sits in a flood-prone area where the Grand River joins the Nith River. Over the past 60 years, an outdated flood control system comprised of earthen dikes, concrete walls, stone walls, and gabion basket walls have been installed to contain floodwaters. Some hastily constructed in reaction to past flooding.

Both Moon and Eby say while there hasn’t been a devastating flood since 1974, the county has to address the flood resilience of the buildings fronting on to the Grand River with climate change and other factors creating 100-year storms more often than every 100 years.

Moon explains they are studying the impacted area from the William Street bridge to the Nith River, and all along the Nith River to the William Street area. He adds while some residents fear trees will be uprooted and a large concrete wall installed blocking the access and view of the river, that isn’t the plan.

The Flood Risk Mitigation Strategy will cost over $20 million and take over ten years to complete. The project will be phased, with high-risk areas completed within the next three years.