The City of Minot is close to wrapping up its Phase II National Disaster Resilience Competition application. The goal: show contest judges Minot has a solid action plan to make our community more resilient to the impacts of flooding. There will be public meetings and the opportunity for you to comment on the application in the coming days and weeks.
To kick-start public awareness for the City’s campaign to gather your feedback, I’m offering up an idea of my own that probably isn’t in the application yet. But maybe it should be. Like it or hate it, share your thoughts in the comments below.
The First Step in Flood Protection — Never Forget!
Following the flood of 1969 and the flood fights of the 1970s, it took a little more than 20 years for our community to become complacent. After the Canadian dams were completed in the 1990s, it seems like Minot officials took a break from worrying about flood protection. That casual attitude toward Minot’s history as a flood town proved devastating in 2011.
Therefore, it would seem like the first step towards becoming a more flood resilient community is learning from our past mistakes — making sure we never become complacent again. We must never forget how quickly and dramatically our little river can change our lives.
The First Step in Flood Protection — A Constant Reminder!
But memories are generational, and collective wisdom is ever shifting. How do we keep the threat of the river forever present in our minds today, tomorrow, and a generation from now? Here’s the idea — we need a constant visual reminder that the river is a threat.
Here’s how we do it. We paint a white ring around every telephone pole and every light post in the valley to mark the 2011 high water level. It would cost us a few gallons of paint, some man-hours, and a stencil. But we would have to borrow someone’s high-quality GPS device that includes accurate elevation and a ladder.
Thereafter, every time you drove down the street you would be reminded of the risk. Every parent would have to explain to every inquisitive child about Minot’s history as a flood town. This simple act — painting a ring around our telephone poles — would spark thousands of conversations every year. We would be forced to remember on a regular basis and our collective wisdom would be forever enshrined in a unique doctrine — the doctrine of the telephone pole that tells us never to forget the power of the Souris River.