Floodplain mapping presented to public


Fraser Rogers looks at a large computer monitor, giving a bird’s eye view of his Anson Street property in Minden. It is overlaid with lines that indicate what he already knew.

He is in a Gull River floodplain. However, thanks to a County-led floodplain mapping project, he can see that the floodplain is actually a little more extensive than when mapping was last done in the 1980s. It gives him more ammunition as he continues to ready his property for future potential flooding, after enduring a number of them in the past.

“First of all, it will rule out that we’re not going to do… which we had no plans to do… any more additions on our existing home,” he said at a Jan. 29 public information centre at the Minden Hills Community Centre.

Rogers said Minden is known for flooding. He says when he was born in 1951, he was brought to the family home, as a newborn, in a canoe. The waters rose again, in 2013, when he was working on an addition. However, he said the sump pumps and sandbags did their job. They have also purchased a generator. They also do not have a full basement, just a crawl space. He said as long as Mother Nature and Parks Canada do not send a gush down the river, he is as prepared as he can be for flooding.

Nonetheless, “it’s nice to see that this is fairly updated. They said they were 2018 aerial photos,” Fraser said.

Mayor Bob Carter, looking at the downtown Minden maps, said “as you can see, there’s huge differences compared to what exists today… it goes both ways. There’s some land that was flood land that really isn’t, but I think there’s more that’s going the other way.

“That means there’s a lot of potential building sites that are really now not available. People who had ideas, ‘why don’t we develop there?’ this is unfortunately going to be the answer.”

He said the overall project is good and was needed to help in updating plans at the County and in his township.

Cory Harris of Ganaraska Conservation Authority, which spearheaded the work that began prior to COVID, said there was a lot of interest in Monday’s open house. He said they were able to explain the context for the study, that it was not just for Minden but “it’s producing mapping for the first time for a pretty large area of Ontario.

Harris said flooding is going to occur whether or not it’s mapped but it’s better to have an understanding of what areas are going to flood, and to what extent.

“When these models are completed you can look at depths, you can look at velocities, you can assess risk levels and you’ve just got a lot of good information to make decisions about whether you buy certain property, or don’t, of if you have a legacy development in a floodplain you can also make informed decisions about how to manage risk in the current situation.”