NID approves final EIR for Newtown Road canal project; opponents considering options | TheUnion.com

NID approves final EIR for Newtown Road canal project; opponents considering options

The canal along Newtown Road, near Highway 49, likely has existed for 150 years.

Nearby residents say the canal provides an aesthetic beauty. And many who live in the area say it helps prevent flooding.

The area is crucial to the Nevada Irrigation District. It’s a main avenue for water flow to the Lake Wildwood Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Bottlenecks in the canal disrupt that flow, and on Wednesday led the NID board to vote 4-1 to accept a final environmental impact report for a project supporters say will correct the issue.

NID will abandon the canal and install some 1,650 feet of pipe nearby. The $1.1 million project, which includes construction and EIR costs, will replace about a 1,900-foot section of the canal.

Officials say the project could begin this spring. It will take about three months to construct.

Nearby residents, most of them opposed to the plan, are considering their options.

“If we need to, we’ll be filing an injunction to stop the project,” said Loraine Webb, who lives in the area.

The project has existed for a decade in some form.

According to NID Director Nick Wilcox, the board 10 years ago considered bypassing the canal with pipe — the solution they approved Wednesday. However, they shelved the idea when residents objected.

NID tried to rehabilitate the canal, which required getting easements from property owners. It couldn’t get one necessary easement and the board voted 3-to-2 to use eminent domain to obtain it, Wilcox added.

Four votes were required, and the measure failed. That led the board to return to their original plan.

The EIR process took about a year. It ended Wednesday with the board’s vote; director Nancy Weber was the lone no vote.

Weber questioned if residents would get another chance to speak on the issue.

“Will there be another meeting?” she asked. “Will there be notice?”

In response, Wilcox cited the project’s 10-year history.

Remleh Scherzinger, NID’s general manager, said his office would work with county officials on flooding issues. He anticipates deeding existing canal easements to their respective property owners, suggesting the board require no payment from residents.

Scherzinger said NID opposes filling the canal or leaving it open. Instead he wants to give it to a group like a homeowners association.

“I think we’ve done a lot to reach out to this group,” Scherzinger added. “Our goal isn’t to ramrod this project and make people unhappy.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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