le Mercredi 17 août 2022
le Mercredi 8 avril 2020 15:33 Autres - Others

Council approves new policy for spring floods

Voisine Street was one of the neighbourhoods hardest hit by last year’s spring flooding in Rockland. This year there may not be any flooding thanks to a milder winter and spring season. The City of Clarence-Rockland has a new policy on flood management now, though, that puts more of the burden on homeowners to protect their property. — archives
Voisine Street was one of the neighbourhoods hardest hit by last year’s spring flooding in Rockland. This year there may not be any flooding thanks to a milder winter and spring season. The City of Clarence-Rockland has a new policy on flood management now, though, that puts more of the burden on homeowners to protect their property.
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The good news for some Rockland homeowners is they might not have to worry about a spring flood situation again this year.

The current flood monitoring report on the South Nation Conservation Authority (SNC) website is that water levels for the South Nation River watershed are normal for this time of year, which means little or no risk of flooding. That should be good news for homeowners in a couple Rockland neighbourhoods whose houses are on or close to the Ottawa River shoreline.

The bad news is that if spring floods become a problem in future, homeowners along the Ottawa River will bear more of the responsibility for safeguarding their homes from the floodwaters. During its March 25 session, Clarence-Rockland council approved a new policy for handling spring flood situations.

“People are going to have to start handling more of it themselves,” said Mayor Guy Desjardins, during an interview on the issue prior to the March 25 meeting. “They’re going to have to start planning more for themselves.”

The main problem for the City of Clarence-Rockland is the expense for last year’s spring flood management program. The cost to the city totalled more than $1 million, even with all the volunteer labour. While Clarence-Rockland does qualify for more than $900,000 in provincial flood relief funds, that reimbursement money still hasn’t arrived.

“We still haven’t gotten a cheque from the government,” Desjardins said, adding that he has assurances from provincial officials that the money will be paid but no indication when.

Another problem for the city is that the provincial government may revise its own flood relief policy, which could mean either less reimbursement funds or more restrictions on how a municipality can qualify for flood relief aid. That prompted council and city administration to review all the costs involved with last year’s flood management situation and prepare a new municipal policy to avoid any huge surprise debts for the city.

“We can’t afford a million dollars ourselves if it happens again,” said Desjardins.

New flood policy

The main focus of the new flood policy for the city is public awareness of the flood risk to homeowners in certain areas of Clarence-Rockland. The revised building code guidelines for designated floodplain areas of the municipality now require a higher foundation for a structure that is well above the maximum flooding level of the area.

If there is a risk of spring flooding for some areas, the City will provide sand bags for homeowners to make their own sandbag walls. The city will also provide instructional videos for any homeowner who has a home in a floodplain area or decides to build in a floodplain area on the proper technique for building a sandbag wall.

If a flood situation exists, the city will designate a site where homeowners can get sand and sandbags for building their walls. Filling the sandbags and transporting them would be the responsibility of the homeowners and/or volunteers who chose to help out during the situation.

The city’s focus will be on making sure the water treatment plant is able to maintain a fresh drinking water supply for the municipality during a flood situation and repairing municipal roads damaged by flooding.