Cost of Change Part 1: Virginia Beach Residents Will Determine the Fate of Flood Mitigation Plan
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The city of Virginia Beach has a plan in place to mitigate the effects of climate change, but how quickly that plan is completed will be in the hands of residents in the upcoming general election in November.
Over the past two decades, the conversation about climate change has changed. More of us are talking about it, whether it’s temperatures, droughts or hurricanes. And across Hampton Roads, Hurricane Matthew was the wake-up call.
But with the speed at which our climate is changing, extreme events are no longer the only piece of evidence. Our times are just stranger. Think of the climate as our personality and the weather as our mood. The weather, just like our mood, is changing all the time. But when our personality, like the climate, begins to change, these mood swings become more frequent.
“The jet stream winds everywhere, so the weather has just changed everywhere,” Super Doppler 10 chief meteorologist Don Slater said. “From June 15 to August 15, it was really calm weather, you can’t see it anymore. You see more important events.
For someone who’s been forecasting the weather around Hampton Roads for 40 years, Slater has seen it with his own eyes. When it comes to climate change in Virginia Beach, the frequency of flooding continues to increase.
So in November, the people of Virginia Beach will decide on a referendum on bonds. Its approval would allow the city to fund and accelerate 21 flood and stormwater projects to address these ongoing flood issues. If approved, the City of Virginia Beach would issue general bond bonds of up to $ 567.5 million.
“The main goal of all of these projects is to prevent homes from being flooded during a 100-year event,” said Toni Utterback, administrator of the Stormwater Engineering Center. “And on top of that, to allow flooding on the streets, but only up to three inches to the top of the road for a 10 year event.”
Some of these projects would be as simple as raising roads off Shore Drive. Others are as complex as the construction of tidal valves and pumping stations near Windsor Woods and Princess Anne Plaza.
All of them aim to mitigate flooding for decades to come.
“This is the purpose of the bond referendum, to make it a continuous funding stream for generations to come,” Utterback added. “I mean, storm water is going to be a problem here for a long time.”
The goal of completing those 21 projects would be within a 10-year window, but that’s if those in Virginia Beach get the referendum on half-billion-dollar bonds going.
So what happens if you vote for the referendum? How much will it cost you? What if you vote no? WAVY News 10’s Brett Hall to answer these questions Thursday on WAVY News 10 at 6 p.m.
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