Lisa Gervais: Spring flooding ... not much has changed
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | March 1, 2018|
With spring-like temperatures, and rain, returning over the past couple of weeks, Haliburton County residents are already beginning to worry about flooding. Perhaps suffering a little post-traumatic stress disorder from the 2017 and 2013 floods, residents are nervously looking at area rivers and lakes. They’re also asking what’s changed from last year to ensure there isn’t a repeat in 2018.
We don’t know what Mother Nature has in store for us, but when it comes to what government is doing, the answer is not enough—at least not yet.
In Minden, the township believes it’s done everything within its power. Mayor Brent Devolin told us earlier this week they’ve done drainage work in the Peck Street area. They’ve installed a duck valve to help with backflow. With recent rain and melt, it’s already showing positive results, Devolin said.
However, he thinks they’ll eventually have to do something with the channel, make it deeper and wider and clean up the basin. But that isn’t happening prior to this spring.
What about some of the dam reconstructions? Devolin thinks the work on Kennisis for example, allowed it to hold an extra metre’s worth of water last year. He thinks the other, new dams will have better flow control and capacity.
He also thinks partners in this, from Haliburton County to the Kawartha and Ganaraska Conservation Authorities to Parks Canada and the TSW are doing a better job of communicating.
He also points to a drainage study that will see a fair bit of activity this spring. They’ll be looking to map out the topography of the drainage area, checking the run-off and ice melt against some of the data they already
And, there’s hope the county will find out in 2018 whether of not it will get funding for its flood plain mapping plan.
However, all of this is part of a longer term solution and will not bring relief this year. We’re told it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Some say the two early rain events and the resultant melt is a good thing going into spring. Others say there’s still a lot of ice to melt on local waterways.
So, locally, it appears the county and Minden Hills have done everything they can. It’s now up to upper-tier levels of government. And that’s when we begin to really worry.
It’s becoming abundantly clear that it’s also up to landowners. They’ve learned through 2013 and 2017 what to look for and what to do to best cover themselves from rising floodwaters. Know where to go to get information,
such as the the Township of Minden Hills website, various conservation authorities, as well as monitoring area lake and river levels. Arm yourselves with sandbags and sump pumps and make sure your insurance policies are up-to-date.
Because, at the end of the day, nothing much has changed from last year to this year, despite your collective
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.