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New sluice gate plans to reduce flooding at Mill Creek

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The Ministry of Public Works has plans to replace the existing culvert at Mill Creek, in Pembroke.

A proposed new project at Mill Creek could help reduce flooding in the area - while also helping the local eel population.The Development Applications Board was scheduled to debate the construction of a culvert on Mill Creek Road to regulate the tidal range in the creek. Its decision is not yet know.In past years the creek has frequently flooded during high tides and heavy rains, drowning Mill Creek Road in several inches of water and making it harder for customers to reach businesses in the area.More than $1 million was put into canal and road improvements at Woodland's Road to provide additional support to the Road and BAA Field in 2009, with Government at the time saying that another $500,000 to build a new sluice gate to double the volume of water that can be discharged during low tide.The new culvert described in the planning documentation would replace an existing unit at the end of Mill Creek Road, which would be demolished.The document listed the redevelopment as a necessary public work, saying: “The proposed work upgrades and rehabilitates the sea water influx controls presently in the location and adds an eel/ fish ladder.”The plan explains that the “eel ladder” allows species of eel and fish to travel in and out of the creek despite the barrier.Several species of eel travel between salt water and fresh water for spawning, with the European eel and American eel both spawning in the Sargasso Sea before migrating to fresh water.Eel populations have declined greatly since the 1980s, leading to eel ladders being constructed in areas throughout Europe and North America in an attempt to help support the populations.Ed Ferris of Tops Ltd, which has in the past suffered from flooding in the creek, said the renovation should help to tackle the problem, but to really make a difference a pump should be included.“When it rains, the whole of Pembroke empties out here,” he said. “Right now, if we had heavy rain, we would have flooding here.“The plate they installed over the summer has done a good job of keeping the ocean out, which is something. The problem is that when it rains heavily, there's no way for the water to get out.“From what I understand a pump appears to be in the works, but perhaps not straight away.”

Flooding around Mill Creek which it is hoped a new sluice gate will help to solve.