In the autumn of 2019, a great action in its senselessness and absurdity began in the city of Cheremkhovo. Local authorities decided to strengthen the bank of the city river, Cheremshanka. We chose the diminutive designation of this water body for a reason. It is difficult to call the Cheremshanka river. Shallow, outwardly similar to a stream, very swampy.
The townspeople looked at the started bank protection work with bewilderment. The logic of what was happening was as vague and unclear as possible. History will not remember situations when Cheremshanka became dangerous due to floods. Neither in spring, during the period of snow melting, nor in summer, during times of heavy rains, the rivulet did not pose a danger and did not cause inconvenience to the townspeople.
But the mayor Vadim Semenov was determined to protect the city from imaginary floods and confidently said that bank protection would ensure the stability of the riverbed, prevent emergencies and, in general, be very beautiful. Local officials also promised that after the fortification work, it would be possible to establish a watercourse and eliminate the waterlogging of the river. That is, Cheremshanka was supposed to miraculously clear itself of mud and become more full-flowing.
Guess what happened in the end? You are thinking in the right direction, our smart and perceptive readers. Everything turned out exactly the opposite.
The work took place on a section of almost 9 kilometers and lasted about two years. Gone tons of rocky soil and a little more than 400 million rubles. But the logic of bank protection did not appear to the townspeople and guests of the city. On the contrary, the question “Why and for what all this?” hung in the air with even greater clarity. It became obvious that the municipal authorities were doing something extremely imprudent.
Firstly. The promised cleanup did not happen. The rivulet remained covered with dense swamp mud.
Secondly. Not only did it not work out with water, on the contrary, the river is gone. Yes, bank protection appeared in the form of a stone embankment and a wire mesh structure. And the water is gone. According to local residents, if in some areas the river is at least a little visible, then in the area of bank protection from Pervomaiskaya Street there is no water in the channel at all. In the warm season, it looks like an empty stone trough. The aesthetic view from a pile of stones under a geogrid is such a sight. So the promised “beautiful” also did not happen.
To top it all off residents of the private sector, located next to the river, began to complain that after bank protection works, their cellars and vegetable gardens were flooded. Here is a comment of one of these residents, published in the local VKontakte group, that his basement was flooded by 1.5 meters:
The Housing Construction Supervision Service came under the comment, offering to contact them about this. It is not known how many such drowned victims are in total.
Here is another comment from a local resident complaining about flooded vegetable gardens and a completely empty “stone trough” instead of a river along Udarnik Street:
In general, a fiasco on all counts.
In the Cheremkhovo administration, they realized that it was necessary to stop the public negativity, to say something, to somehow explain to the population this shameful curiosity: where is the river and where did the money go. In October 2022, the press service of the Cheremkhovo City Hall rallied and tried to give the townspeople an explanation.
The role of an invited expert, who was supposed to lull public opinion, was assigned to the director of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “Irkutsk Department for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring” Igor Vereshchagin. In a prepared production for the camera, Vereshchagin reported that the parameters of Cheremshanka had not changed since 2006, the water flow remained the same. That is water, no more, no less.
And surely the respected expert is telling the truth about the immutability of the hydrological parameters of the city river.
Curious. Did the river disappear into the thickness of the stone mats according to the plan? This was the conceptual idea: that the city will be “decorated” by an empty stone trough, but there will be no river in it?
The video, published on the social networks of the head of Cheremkhovo at the end of October, ends with remarks by Vereshchagin and Semenov.
The goal has actually been achieved. But, apparently, not the one pointed out by the mayor. The residents of Cheremkhovo themselves in social networks directly say: the only purpose of the work that has been carried out in the city for two years was a banal cut. The amount by the standards of a small town, with a population of about 50 thousand, is huge. More than 400 million rubles. This is about a fifth of Cheremkhovo’s annual budget.
The story is amazing at its core. 400 million rubles went in a dubious direction. Cheremshanka is extremely shallow and objectively does not need to strengthen the channel. There is no threat of emergencies in case of floods and never was. Judging by the complaints about flooded private households, the work was carried out in violation of the natural riverbed.
But now the residents of Cheremkhovo can sleep peacefully: they will definitely not be flooded by a swampy stream. Well, except for those whose gardens and cellars have already been flooded, but not through the fault of the floods.
Good intentions, as they say.