Ottawa residents rush to save homes from rising waters | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

Ottawa residents rush to save homes from rising waters | Watch News Videos Online - Globalnews.ca
Monday flood updates in Ottawa and Gatineau: Bridge and road closures, 20-40 mm of rain expected
With already record-high Ottawa River water levels expected to peak Wednesday or Thursday, people in the National Capital Region are anxiously watching and waiting to see just how bad they will be.

The river is expected to rise nearly half a metre to its peak by Thursday in Gatineau, Que., where floodwaters have already surrounded homes in several neighbourhoods, according to the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board's latest update at 5 p.m. ET Monday.

In video shared with CTV News Ottawa, a person is seen riding a jet-ski upstream through rapids. The footage was captured by viewer Craig Lutes, who said it was taken near Britannia, an area in the west end of Ottawa.

There are more than 1,400 registered flood victims in Gatineau — up 200 from Sunday morning — representing 159 households. The City of Gatineau assisted with 95 voluntary evacuations.

Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau has banned non-emergency boats from the Ottawa River between the capital city and the Carillon dam on the Ontario-Quebec border. Boaters could face a fine of up to $5,000.

Water levels of Ottawa River highest on record in most areas, planning board says

The water level in west Ottawa's Britannia neighbourhood, meanwhile, is expected to rise another 27 centimetres, peaking on Wednesday after setting a record high over the weekend. The peak is set to be 41 centimetres higher than 2017 levels.

Thousands of people across Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick are facing widespread flooding. The City of Ottawa declared a state of emergency last week.

An engineer with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority was brought in over the weekend to inspect a berm in Britannia designed to protect hundreds of homes in the west-end neighbourhood after there were concerns about water flowing through, said Laila Gibbons, Ottawa's director of public safety and environment services. 

Despite escalating safety warnings around a bloated Ottawa River, some adrenaline seekers wont be stopped.

She said the city is still waiting on the engineer's report and will decide if additional sandbags are needed in the area.

Zibi says it is building to weather a one-in-a-thousand year flood

Officials also assured residents that the city's drinking water is safe, despite concerns about rising floodwaters potentially cutting off access to at least one water purification plant.

“The rise in water levels along the lower Ottawa River has slowed due to less rainfall than expected in the central and southern portions of the basin and cooler temperatures,” wrote the board in their daily report.

Photos and videos capture intense weekend of flooding in Ottawa

However, the city is still urging residents who get their drinking water from wells to stop using them if flood waters have covered the top of the well or they suspect contamination.

With peak levels set to hit the river on either Tuesday or Wednesday and the work week set to begin, the city has some concerns about the potential drops in volunteers — though they have faith with the army in town.

People can pick up bottled water and hand sanitizer from Ottawa Fire Station 63 at 341 Bayview Dr. between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET or they can use one of three self-service facilities available 24 hours:

According to the most recent update from the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board on Sunday, water levels on the Ottawa River at several areas across the city are the highest they’ve ever been.

Around 600 Canadian Armed Forces members are working to deal with rising waters in the Ottawa area. More than a million sandbags have been filled with the help of more than 9,000 volunteers, according to a news conference held by the city Monday afternoon.

While water levels have not yet reached their peak, they are all now higher then they were in 2017, which is the record-setting benchmark the city and the board has been using throughout the flooding.

CBC News captured drone footage of flooded areas in Gatineau, just across the river from central Ottawa, on Monday. You can watch what's been captured below.

The increase in water levels has slowed over the last several days the board says, mostly due to less rainfall that is expected. The forecast peak levels, however, remain the same.

CBC News received special permission from Transport Canada and local officials for the flights. Drones are not allowed within nine kilometres of flooded areas in Quebec.

On Saturday, the City of Ottawa announced it has begun voluntary evacuation procedures, and as of Sunday morning, 18 homeowners have left their homes in the area.

The City of Gatineau said water levels were at the 100-year flood threshold in Aylmer, Hull and Pointe-Gatineau, with levels in Masson-Angers to the east less than 10 centimetres from that level.

At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Ottawa officials praised the volunteer efforts, saying 57 homes have been saved as a result of the measures taken.

One of the five bridges connecting Ottawa and Gatineau — the Chaudière Bridge — is closed to all traffic after the swollen Ottawa River started to rush against it.

An average of 19,000 vehicles — 13 per cent of interprovincial traffic — normally use it daily, as well as 1,350 cyclists.

City of Ottawa officials said some 5,500 volunteers have been helping fill sandbags since April 19. More than 700 Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been deployed in the Ottawa region, with troops focusing on Constance Bay and Cumberland over the weekend. 

Hydro Ottawa has opened up every span of its nearby dam at Chaudière Falls, the second time in its 100-year history it has been forced to do so.

The rise of the Ottawa River flowed over the weekend due to cooler temperatures and less than expected rainfall, but still continued to rise as residents tries to protect their homes and properties.

On the Ontario side of the river, the hardest-hit communities include Cumberland, Fitzroy Harbour, Constance Bay, Britannia and Dunrobin in Ottawa, and Clarence-Rockland, Ont., just east of Ottawa. 

River levels are still expected to rise 39 cm at Lac Deschenes/Britannia by Tuesdays peak, while the river will rise another 50 cm at the Gatineau/Hull Marina before peaking on Wednesday.

On the Quebec side of the river, the hardest hit areas include Aylmer, Point-Gatineau, Lac Beauchamp and Masson-Angers in Gatineau, and Pontiac, Que., west of Gatineau.

On Sunday, the City said staff had conducted more than 300 wellness checks at homes in the flood zone. People living at 18 homes had decided to leave their homes voluntarily.

The river is expected to peak in the next few days, but that won't spell the end of the crisis.

The Regulating Committee said levels are forecast to peak Tuesday and Wednesday and should remain fairly stable thereafter depending on weather conditions.

Video: Chaudière Bridge over the Ottawa River

"We need people to sustain our efforts for multiple weeks," City of Ottawa manager Steve Kanellakos said during a weekend news conference.

The Ottawa River Regulating Committee reported Sunday that water levels had exceeded the May 2017 peaks from Mattawa to Lac Deschenes/Britannia.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

The waters continue to rise in the Ottawa River and more rain is on the way as homeowners and thousands of volunteers in Cumberland, Gatineau, Britannia Bay and Constance Bay spent a frantic weekend sandbagging to try to protect homes.

City of Gatineau officials said Sunday that water levels were at 100-year flood threshold in Aylmer, Hull and Pointe-Gatineau.

Levels are expected to peak on Tuesday just west of Ottawa in Britannia and near Arnprior. To the east, the Ottawa River at Gatineau, Thurso and Hawkesbury/Grenville are expected to peak on Wednesday.

The Ottawa River is flowing at historic levels, as water levels continue to rise through the National Capital Region.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for the already-sodden Ottawa area warning that 20 to 40 mm of rain is expected from early Wednesday morning to early Thursday morning.

An engineer with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority was brought in over the weekend to inspect a berm in Britannia designed to protect hundreds of homes in the west-end neighbourhood after there were concerns about water flowing through, said Laila Gibbons, Ottawa's director of public safety and environment services. 

The ground has limited ability to absorb further rainfall, the weather agency said of the rain associated with a Texas Low that will track across the southern edge of the province.

Leo Lane resident Rollande Roberge (L) and volunteer Pat McHugh move sandbags to combat flood waters in Cumberland on April 28, 2019. Errol McGihon/Postmedia Errol McGihon / Postmedia

Around 600 Canadian Armed Forces members are working to deal with rising waters in the Ottawa area. More than a million sandbags have been filled with the help of more than 9,000 volunteers, according to a news conference held by the city Monday afternoon.

The City of Ottawa said Monday that its co-ordinating an evacuation plan for residents in areas where floodwaters are an imminent threat to safety, life and property. 

Our role is to support the City of Ottawa thats dealing with these floods in three main areas – Constance Bay, Britannia and Cumberland, Chief Charles Bordeleau said before Mondays police board meeting. We have officers deployed to deal with traffic management, to do wellness visits, to make sure people are safe and secure, and were actively involved in ensuring residents feel supported. Ive been out there for the past couple days visiting different sites and Im really proud of the work that everyone is doing.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

The challenge with this one here is that were going to be looking at a sustained period of time where you are going to see several peaks manifest themselves over the next three weeks. So the residents will need to be prepared for that and the city and the residents need to know this is a marathon and not a sprint.

People can pick up bottled water and hand sanitizer from Ottawa Fire Station 63 at 341 Bayview Dr. between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET or they can use one of three self-service facilities available 24 hours:

Officers dealing with flood-related operations are not available for other police work in the city. Bordeleau said some of that work is happening on a paid-duty basis where the city is hiring those additional officers so that the force can maintain policing elsewhere, but the force is using as much on-duty resources as possible.

On the Ontario side of the river, the hardest-hit communities include Cumberland, Fitzroy Harbour, Constance Bay, Britannia and Dunrobin in Ottawa, and Clarence-Rockland, Ont., just east of Ottawa. 

City staff,  meanwhile, will visit affected residents who will advise them to either leave their homes or get ready for the possibility that theyll have to evacuate.

New numbers from the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board coupled with Environment Canadas latest forecast signal that water levels will continue to rise over the next few days, the city said.

Video: Ottawa community experiencing déjà vu as floods threaten their homes

– 8,656 volunteers have helped at three sites since Friday with 3,363 volunteers helping on Sunday alone;

Zibi’s observation tower made from shipping crates opens to the public on Wednesday, offering a birds-eye view of the Ottawa River just as the river is expected to peak in parts of Ontario and Quebec. Errol McGihon/PostmediaThe bridge that links two parts of the development is not high and dry however. The Chaudière Bridge has been temporarily closed to the public as flood waters lap around its deck. It was also temporarily closed during the 2017 floods.

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pednaud-Jobin warned of turbulent days ahead and pleaded with motorists to stay off the roads this week.

Zibi’s new seven-storey observation tower made from shipping crates opens to the public on Wednesday, offering a birds-eye view of the Ottawa River, the source of the worst spring flooding in recent memory. The opening comes just as the river is expected to peak in parts of Ontario and Quebec.

Although travel will be unavoidable for some people, the Gatineau mayor asked that those who can work remotely or change their hours to commute outside of rush-hour do so. For those who must commute and can’t change their hours, he urged them to carpool to limit the number of vehicles on the road.

Chaudiere Bridge in Ottawa Monday April 29, 2019. Flood waters have reached the bridge and now is causing damage. The bridge is closed. Tony Caldwell / jpg

Despite its proximity to the water — and the roiling Chaudière Falls — officials at Zibi say they are high and dry and will remain that way because the development is being built to withstand once-in-1,000-year floods.

Monday was the first weekday commute since the Chaudière Bridge was closed due to rising floodwaters. Public service managers are being asked to give staff who live or work in Gatineau “maximum flexibility” over their work arrangements.

“Anybody who comes down here, it is visually apparent that we are significantly higher than the water levels — you can see it,” he said. “We have done a tremendous amount of due diligence on these lands.”

The City of Ottawa suggested working from home or taking the bus but otherwise to “expect delays and be patient” during the Monday morning commute.

The City of Ottawa is asking residents to stay off the Ottawa river in and around the areas impacted by the recent floods. Boating close to shore may cause wakes which contribute to additional damage to homes, flood barriers and so forth. #ottflood #ottcity

“Our philosophy is that we build with climate resiliency in mind. If you think about extreme weather due to climate change, all of our infrastructure is built with that in mind,” said president Jeff Westeinde.

Besides the Chaudière Bridge, stretches of Highway 50, including the St. Louis on and offramps, and Fournier Boulevard, which was shored up with gravel, are closed as well.

Westeinde said he sees the spring flooding as an opportunity to talk about environmental sustainability in the way communities are built — something that is a focus of the project.

Traffic is one way towards Hull on the Alonzo Wright Bridge in the morning and there are widespread road closures in waterfront neighbourhoods.

QUYON : course contre la monte, les camions se relaient sans cesse afin de solidifier la digue | Race against time. Trucks are coming in out out non stop to solidify the dike @MuniPontiac toutes les résidences du périmètre évacuées #policemrc pic.twitter.com/fvNbabI9aD

@JustinTrudeau has come ready with his rubber boots and gloves to fill some sandbags while he is on site at Constance Bay. He also brought his kids to help out. Thank you for showing your support here in Ottawa.#OttCity #ottnews #ottawaflood pic.twitter.com/zmPpAwZwXg

In a “race against time” in Pontiac, heavy equipment is shoring up the dike at Quyon. MRC des Collines police report that trucks are coming in and out non-stop with materials as residents in a perimeter nearby have evacuated. The cable ferry that connected Quyon to Fitzroy Harbour stopped running Monday. It had been the only interprovincial ferry running since last week.

Mary Lynne and I took a drive to Clarence Rockland Township, Rockland and Cumberland to see some of devastation along the Ottawa River. Very serious situations. South Nation Conservation continues to monitor flooding in our watershed. pic.twitter.com/kziEdWmhzL

While the Ottawa River keeps swelling, stewards of the Rideau River say that water levels and flows are dropping towards seasonal levels except on Bobs Lake and Christie Lake, where a flood warning remains in effect.

It is crazy indeed. When you realize that most of the club harbour and the Village of #Britannia is already below current water level, you really want those walls to hold! #ottawaflooding pic.twitter.com/hPoA0KoF49

Rain forecast for later in the week could increase levels on the two lakes, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority said Monday, but Parks Canada staff is monitoring conditions and will operate the Bolingbroke Dam to balance levels.

Worked hard today! Glad to have helped out in Crystal Bay. The sense of community was strong and everyone was smiling, working hard and happy to help. #ottawaflooding #ottawa #ottawariver pic.twitter.com/1m3Wi5f4z8

Meanwhile, the National Capital Commission reminded motorists Monday morning of construction on the Portage Bridge. The northbound centre lane heading to Gatineau will be closed “occasionally” for construction between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. starting Monday and running through May 10.

Over the weekend, military members were on hand to help volunteers prepare sandbags for properties threatened by flooding. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made an appearance to help with the emergency efforts.

A berm on the Ottawa River near Jamieson Street holds back the flooding in the Britannia area as people gathered to build sandbags Sunday, April 28, 2019. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia Ashley Fraser / Postmedia

Drone footage over Chaudière Falls along the Ottawa River today. This is only the second time in our 100+ year history that weve opened up all the spans of the Ring Dam. #ottflood pic.twitter.com/CWZiqK8nOL

Spring training will have to wait a bit with the City of Ottawa appealing to residents and organizers of public events to stay off ball diamonds, sports fields and other turfed areas including parks and fields because of extremely wet conditions.

Currently, Montreal and Ontarios cottage country also remain under a state of emergency, and the army has also been to assist with emergency efforts in the communities of Huntsville and Bracebridge.

Using them could cause damage. The city said it will officially open ball diamonds and sports fields as soon as weather permits.

Water levels in the Ottawa River at some locations are still rising. Levels at Britannia, Lac Chats near Arnprior and Maniwaki are expected to peak Tuesday, while Gatineau, Thurso, Grenville/Hawkesbury and Lac Coulonge are expected to hit their highest levels on Wednesday.

According to Environment Canada, more rain is expected in the region this week, with periods of rain in the forecast from Monday through Friday.

The water is expected to be higher than the disastrous flood in 2017 at all areas along the Ottawa River, says the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board.

The agency flags potential flooding in Britannia, Lac Deschenes, Pointe-Gatineau, Cumberland, Rockland and Thurso, adding that water levels could eventually reach heights seen during April 2017 — one month before the worst of that year's devastating floods.

At Britannia, the water on Monday morning was already 11 centimetres above the 2017 flood level, according to the planning committee.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

And there’s more rain in the forecast. Periods of rain are to start Monday evening, with drizzle Tuesday and the possibility of as much as 10 to 15 mm of rain falling by Wednesday.

Michael Sarich, a senior regulation engineer with the Ottawa River Regulation Secretariat, tells Ottawa Morning the melting snowpack is causing water levels on tributaries upstream near Pembroke, Ont., to rise sharply.

It was a weekend of frantic sandbagging as  near-record levels on the Ottawa River threatened new neighbourhoods and Canadian Forces personnel fanned out across the city.

As many as 3,000 volunteer sandbaggers turned out at centres across the city as a growing stream of residents evacuated their homes in the face of rising floodwaters.

Legault says while his Coalition Avenir Québec government would be offering flood victims compensation, they also want to buy out homeowners so that taxpayers aren't on the hook every time a flood occurs.

There were glimmers of hope on Sunday afternoon as sandbagging efforts paid off in Britannia where a leaking berm had sparked concern a day earlier. Volunteers patrolled the length of the berm through the night and by midday Sunday so many volunteers had turned out to sandbag there was a healthy reserve ready to be deployed as needed to other problem areas.

Four more communities declare states of emergency: the Ontario municipalities of Clarence-Rockland, Horton Township and McNab/Braeside and the Quebec municipality of Papineauville.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces move sandbags to combat flood waters in Cumberland on April 28, 2019. Errol McGihon/Postmedia Errol McGihon / Postmedia

The river hits record-breaking heights in Ottawa, as well as upstream near Arnprior, Ont., and at Lac Coulonge near Pembroke. The Ottawa and Arnprior records had stood since 1950.

In Cumberland, military members were on-hand to help fight back the water, working side by side with volunteers building up sandbag walls.

The City of Ottawa declares a state of emergency. Mayor Jim Watson asks for help from the Canadian Armed Forces, saying the city "can no longer do it alone."

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” was a mantra repeated through the weekend. At a briefing Saturday affected residents were reminded that the water will remain high for weeks, while the cleanup and restoration is sure to be a prolonged affair.

In Gatineau, more than 700 people have had to leave their homes. Richard Lafrance, 62, who lives on Rue René, said he’s the last one left in his little area, as others have bolted from the high waters or never rebuilt after demolitions post-2017.

Flood warnings have been issued across much of southeast, south-central and northeast Ontario. States of emergency have been declared in the following municipalities:

A 34-year-old Arnprior man was also found dead in the water on a flooded road Sunday night. It is unknown if he died due to the flooding.

Russell Rouleau, who had been reported missing earlier in the day, was found after Renfrew OPP officers were called to Riverview Drive in Arnprior.

A woman in Pontiac, Louise Séguin Lortie, plunged to her death in a creek bed on April 20 near Quyon after her car plunged off a washed out road.

Chaudiere Bridge in Ottawa Monday April 29, 2019. Flood waters have reached the bridge and now is causing damage. The bridge is closed.   Tony Caldwell /jpg

Chaudiere Bridge in Ottawa Monday April 29, 2019. Flood waters have reached the bridge and now is causing damage. The bridge is closed.   Tony Caldwell /jpg

Chaudiere Bridge in Ottawa Monday April 29, 2019. Flood waters have reached the bridge and now is causing damage. The bridge is closed.   Tony Caldwell /jpg

Chaudiere Bridge in Ottawa Monday April 29, 2019. Flood waters have reached the bridge and now is causing damage. The bridge is closed.   Tony Caldwell /jpg

Chaudiere Falls in Ottawa Monday April 29, 2019. Flood waters have reached the bridge and now is causing damage. The bridge is closed.   Tony Caldwell /jpg

Chaudiere Bridge in Ottawa Monday April 29, 2019. Flood waters have reached the bridge and now is causing damage. The bridge is closed.   Tony Caldwell /jpg

Portage Bridge in morning rush hour in Ottawa Monday April 29, 2019. Tony Caldwell   Tony Caldwell /jpg