IBERIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) – With early voting underway and the November 18th election right around the corner, Iberia Parish leaders still have the chance to persuade voters on approving the $523 million dollar levee project for the parish.
Iberia Parish leaders proposed their new levee plan ahead of the November 18th ballot. As they work to persuade the community on supporting their flood protection plan, some dispute the expected funds to come from the tax payer’s pocket.
“To pay to run the pumps, to pay to cut the grass, to pay to open up the locks and gates,” said Harold Schoeffler the Chairman of Acadiana Group Sierra Club.
This project is an effort to protect the parish from the potential 4.5 billion dollar cost of economic damage it can receive from a direct hit from a hurricane. Natural disasters aren’t the only concern for Iberia, as leaders describe, heavy rain spreading past the Port, Highway 90 and continues through Jeanerette, Loreauville and the west end of the parish. The new levee would run from the Vermilion-Iberia Parish boundary line to St. Mary Parish. The parish president says they are in dire need of this project.
“Every time it rains these businesses have to shut down for the most part. I’m saying every time it rains, but for the most part, every time it gets a significant amount of rain or southward coming in, some of these business flood, said Parish President Larry Richard.
But, environmentalist Harold Schoeffler says the financial burden of maintaining twenty-miles of levee, four massive pumping stations and sixteen drainage structures will fall on behalf of the citizens of Iberia Parish.
“This project will pump seven thousand cubic feet per second. And the build to do that is about sixty-thousand dollars a day just for electricity,” Schoeffler added.
He added that farmland and fishery will also be divided which could have a negative impact on the state of Louisiana. It could destroy at least 200 acres.
As the voting time approaches, Scheoffler urges everyone to be aware of what they’re checking on the ballot.
“Go vote. It’s a thirty-year tax and so, they’ll be paying their grandchildren will be paying for it,” said Schoeffler.
The massive new levee is a part of a statewide flood protection plan from the Louisiana state government’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
If anyone supports or is opposed to the new levee project, community members and parish leaders advise everyone to go out and make their vote count.
The next Town Hall meeting for the Iberia Flood Protection is Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. located at West End Community Center, West End Park, New Iberia.