Flood response scales down but city says ‘remain vigilant’

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

(Editor’s note: As we did during the 2017 flood, 2018 tornado, 2019 flood and COVID-19 pandemic, we are making our coverage of potential extreme flooding in 2023 free access to our entire community providing flooding updates, on-site coverage, important information and resources to West Carleton and beyond, so those outside the area can better understand what is happing in our rural community)

WEST CARLETON – The city’s Public Safety Service director is telling riverside communities to ‘remain vigilant’ as flood levels recede a bit this week.

“In terms of a ‘Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF),’ conditions along the Ottawa River are stable and even decreasing slightly, but we are asking residents to remain vigilant and not to take down their sandbags just yet,” City of Ottawa Public Safety Service director Beth Gooding released in a statement today (April 25).

According to the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA), water levels along the main stem of the Ottawa River are expected to be fairly stable or to decrease slightly in all locations over the next few days.

“Overall, we are still within a one in 10-year flood event range,” Gooding said. “The risk is trending in the right direction, but we are still somewhat early in the flood season.”

West Carleton Disaster Relief (WCDR) is reporting a drop of roughly four centimetres since Sunday (April 23) in the water level measured at Constance Bay. The last recorded levels is 59.95 metres above sea level which is 49 cm below the 2017 peak and 80 cm below the 2019 peak.

WCDR is also tapering off their activities as well, WCDR director Allan Joyner told West Carleton Online last night (April 24) but is not quite ready to fold up shop.

The WCDR organization will continue to staff their temporary headquarters at the Constance Bay community centre (262 Len Russell Dr.) and provide support for those who need it. The local volunteer disaster response agency will not actively recruit volunteer sandbaggers at this time, as most sandbag stations have a number of filled sandbags available. They will continue to monitor the situation and be at the ready in case there are any changes in flood forecasting.

“Since late last week, we are seeing some minor flooding in low-lying, flood-prone areas,” Gooding said.

This has resulted in three road closures in West Carleton, an impact to a path west of the Ron Kolbus Community Centre parking lot in Britannia, and no access to:

  • Petrie Island (Cumberland)
  • Blair Road boat launch (Rothwell Heights)

There are still no impacts to any of the City’s assets that are managed by the Infrastructure and Water Services Department.

“The city is encouraging residents to continue to monitor flood forecasts and to take the necessary actions to prepare/protect their properties – that includes ensuring the sandbags they have put in place are not taken down too early,” Gooding said. “It is best to monitor and maintain current protective measures at this time. Our guidance to residents this week is to stay the course. Having said that though, we know residents like planning ahead. As a result, we will be posting guidance on our website shortly about the process for proper sandbag removal/disposal. We are also starting to receive questions about well water testing. While inspections cannot be performed until flood waters recede, we will also share guidance about this topic.”

The city has observed residents in West Carleton, Britannia and Cumberland have been taking appropriate measures to protect their properties. City staff have filled approximately 45,000 sandbags for distribution to higher-risk neighbourhoods.

“This, coupled with volunteer-led initiatives in West Carleton, has provided a steady source of filled sandbags for residents in flood-prone areas to access,” Gooding said. “The city also continues to have sand and empty sandbags available at approximately 25 sites across the city for self-filling and take-away. The city is not going to organize its own volunteer sandbag-filling initiative this week. We have assessed the conditions are such that a surge effort of this nature is not required at this time. We would also like to reserve some volunteer capacity for later, should it be necessary to seek that additional level of support.”

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