By Jordan Likens
Over the course of the past year, two neighborhoods in Trinity have been flooded five times. Residents of Sportsman Oaks and Peninsula Point have lived in these high water conditions for approximately 180 spread out over each flood.
Because of these conditions some residents, like Glenn Brewer of Peninsula Point, find it near impossible to leave their homes.
“We live high enough that we haven’t gotten any water in here, we just can’t get out,” Brewer said.
The inability to leave their homes means these residents have no access to employment, school, the grocery store, or even medical facilities. Not only is this issue an inconvenience, but it can pose a serious threat to residents’ well-being.
Some residents who have the ability to leave their homes, however, find themselves commuting via boat. Around Mother’s Day in 2015, for instance, Sportsman’s Oaks resident Jesse Partridge used his boat for personal errands in addition to getting supplies to neighbors on a daily basis. County officials later recognized him for his contribution to the community.
Unfortunately, some Trinity County residents aren’t as understanding as Partridge and often wonder why those affected by the floods do not relocate. For some people, however, it’s not that simple.
“Over on River Oaks [Drive], they don’t have the money. They aren’t rich people. They don’t have the funds to do something like that. I live off Social Security, so I don’t have the money to live in a hotel for 180 days,” Brewer said.
On Saturday, county officials met with residents of Sportsman Oaks to discuss what course of action the county would take to assist the residents. The officials that were present include Precinct 2 County Commissioner Richard Chamberlain, County Judge Doug Page, Emergency Management Coordinator Carl Dyer, and Sheriff Woody Wallace. The turn-out was better than expected.
“I am happy with what is going on. I think we have a great dialogue going on between the subdivisions and us,” Dyer said.
Because the county is unable to provide direct assistance due to their lack of resources, including a boat, officials came to the resolution that there were multiple courses of action they could take to alleviate some of the flooding or perhaps stop it all together. Because many of the residents are forced to commute via boat, the county is considering constructing a dock.
“We told them that what we needed—and what the subdivisions needed—was a place to dock that was accessible for any of the homes,” Dyer said.
Another idea that was discussed would be enforcing a depth restriction of 131 feet on the lake.
“If we could lower the lake during a flood, we could lower the flooding in the subdivisions. It’s not like we’re asking to drop the lake in a drought, we want to drop it in a flood,” Dyer said.
In addition, the county has considered other plans for alleviating the flooding, most of which are rather costly.
“We talked about utilizing some levy techniques along the west side of that road to try to slow that flow of water down some and raise some portions of the road, if we can. It is very expensive though.
Mr. Chamberlain is going to look into it,” Dyer said.
With many things to consider and much work to be done, the county remains optimistic.
“Nothing happens over night, but the public needs to know that the county has moved to the forefront. We’re pursuing every avenue we can to help these people. Everyone I talk to, even the most vocal of each side, were very happy with the outcome [of the meeting],” Dyer said.