Flooding threatens Mayo home

A Mayo resident says the Yukon Energy Corporation needs to do a better job controlling the flow through the Mayo B hydro station after floodwaters came within metres of his home. 

A Mayo resident says the Yukon Energy Corporation needs to do a better job controlling the flow through the Mayo B hydro station after floodwaters came within metres of his home.

“It was overflowing the riverbank. It got to within a couple of feet of our house, creeping through the snow,” Bruce Mitford said.

Mitford said the flooding happens when Yukon Energy tinkers with the flow rate through the power station, which leads to ice jams down river. The water ends up flowing over the ice into his yard and threatening his property.

And it’s been getting worse, he says.

“It only started happening when Yukon Energy increased their flow through the Mayo B, when they had the grid tie-in with Dawson. It increased the winter flow rate. This year and last is the highest it’s been,” Mitford said.

The most recent flooding happened last weekend. After Mitford complained, Yukon Energy sent hydrologists to tour the affected area. The company has heavy equipment operating on the opposite bank from Mitford’s house, which works to keep a channel open through the ice to manage the water flow.

Mitford said after inspecting the flooded area, Yukon Energy agreed to reduce the Mayo B station’s flow for the next seven to 10 days to allow the heavy equipment the time to make the channel bigger.

It has allowed the water to recede for now, but Mitford says he wants a better long-term solution.

“We’ve been good about this. Over the past years we’ve been unhappy about this. This year it just got too far. We’ve been patient this year as well, thinking maybe they’re just going to clear the blockage – every time it floods it floods over the bank and freezes,” he said.

Yukon Energy did not return a call for comment by press time. In the past, the company has always insisted that the Mayo B facility is not responsible for increased winter flooding downstream, as those areas have always seen some floodwater activity.

In response to a reader’s letter last August, Yukon Energy spokeswoman Janet Patterson wrote her own letter saying, “the worst flooding took place even before Mayo B was constructed and before we did any work in the water … to conclude that Mayo B is the cause of this flooding flies in the face of the facts. Since Mayo B has been completed, Yukon Energy has been very diligent about monitoring our flows to ensure we don’t exacerbate winter flooding.”

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

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