Meeting gets heated over flooding concerns from Barker Reservoir release

HOUSTON – Hundreds of people filled the cafeteria at Cinco Ranch High School for an informational meeting that many Canyon Gate residents felt was short on crucial information.

Local and federal officials were interrupted with questions.

“What are they going to do ab out the bayou?” shouted one woman from the crowd.

Another man was asked to hold his question for later.

“We're not going to take any questions from you right now,” said Andy Meyers, the Fort Bend County Precinct 3 commissioner. “We've got several thousand people here.”

Frustrations rose as pressing questions went unanswered.

“Nobody is giving a straight answer,” said Mohammed Hassan, a Canyon Gate resident. “This is a waste of our time!”

Hassan like so many other Canyon Gate residents in his subdivision, was fine during Hurricane Harvey. His home was under 5 feet of water on the Monday after the storm when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started releasing water from the swollen Barker reservoir.

“I had to leave my wife and grandson on top of a car and swim 45 minutes to find a boat to get them out,” Hassan said. “These are politicians covering their behinds and pointing fingers at somebody else.” 

There was talk of dipping into Texas’ $11 billion rainy day fund.

“If there's ever been a rainy day, it's a rainy day in Precinct 3 in Fort Bend County right now,” one of the officials said.

There were fans in the audience of a home buyout program. They were told it takes a while for the money to get from the federal government to the state to the residents who are accepted into the program.

“There is no fund to buyout yet,” Meyers said.

People in the crowd started shouting out things like:

“Rainy day funds!”
“There are state monies!”
“Where's the governor?”

So many walked away without solid answers.

“Honestly this meeting wasn't very helpful,” said Candice Braud, a resident of Canyon Gate. “I knew a lot of this before I came to the meeting. I’m just trying to find solutions on how to get a buyout or rebuild.”

Residents said they had hoped Corps of Engineers officials would attend the meeting. They wanted answers to why the Corps had to flood their neighborhood. 

Meyers said Corps officials were supposed to come but after several lawsuits had been filed against the agency, they declined to come.

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