Corps plans to close west gate at Calumet

Plans by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the west gate of the Wax Lake Outlet at Bayou Teche will be opposed by parish officials.

St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin told the council Wednesday that the floodgate will be shut down March 4 and will not open again.

He has been in discussion with the Corps and was informed that the closure is due to funding cuts. The floodgate is currently open a few hours a day to allow small vessel traffic.

Naquin said the structure is old “and they’re scared if they open it might not close.”

He said the structure still functions and is inspected annually.

Council members worried that permanent closure of the lock might endanger the Franklin area in event of a flood event.

Naquin said he will work with the St. Mary Parish Levee District and continue efforts to keep the structure operational.

Also Wednesday, Naquin said the Corps is also planning construction work on the West Bayou Sale Gordy Levee. The project consists of levee enlargement and associated access ramps over the levee.

But Naquin said the levee in that area is approximately 12-foot and the work the Corps is proposing will only be at eight foot. “I’m really concerned about that,” he said.

Naquin said he’ll continue addressing that issue on a future trip to Washington, D.C.

In other business Wednesday:

–The council approved resolutions in memory of Lucille Boudreaux Pellerin, Sgt. Frederick “Rick” Riggenbach, Eddie “Pink” Lyons, Ervin Joseph “Joe” Vaughn, Jimmie Garrett “Poo-Poo” Burleigh and Ronnie Joseph Morgan Sr.

–Resolutions were also approved authorizing the parish president to enter into a cooperative agreement with the state for infrastructure improvement to the Charenton Canal Industrial Park; authorizing the president to enter into a cooperative agreement with the state for installation of culverts and associated infrastructure on Middle Road in Bayou Vista on behalf of Sub-Gravity Drainage District 1; requesting that the state Department of Transportation and Development plan a pedestrian walkway, crossing signs and temporarily install flashing lights on La. 182 near Cameron Iron Works until a permanent crosswalk is constructed; and approving the sale of $2.7 million in general obligation refunding bonds for the Wax Lake East Drainage District.

–Reappointed Faith Broussard to Recreation District 7.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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