UPDATE: Tecumseh now offering sand bags too

Essex Region Conservation Authority Director of Watershed Management Services Tim Byrne, June 19, 2014. (photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Tecumseh Town Council has approved a motion to provide residents living along Lake St. Clair and Pike Creek with sandbags to hold off flooding on their properties.

Workers will also start installing protective measures around Tecumseh’s pump stations so they can remain operational during any flooding event.

“What is important to understand is the threat of flooding and erosion is imminent,” said Tim Byrne, director of watershed management at the Essex Region Conservation Authority, at Tuesday night’s council meeting. “This spring the greatest impact has been from the wind. Strong north/northeasterly winds coming off Lake St. Clair cause severe wave action and erosion. Most unmaintained shore protection systems cannot handle the constant pummeling. This has resulted in erosion, breaches of breakwalls and an overtopping of shoreline protection.”

Byrne urged municipal officials to conduct visual inspections of breakwalls immediately.

Currently, the town is working on a “Lake Flooding Emergency Preparedness” plan which will include a survey along the shore of Lake St. Clair and Pike Creek. It would allow town officials to identify which properties are in low-lying areas and more prone to flooding. A report will come back to council on May 28.

“Tecumseh is acutely aware of the impacts of extreme weather events,” said Mayor Gary McNamara. “Ontario municipalities are learning the hard way this spring that increased lake levels are the new normal.”

Other municipalities in the region that have offered at-risk residents are Windsor, Lakeshore, Essex, Leamington, and Amherstburg.

Bags can be picked up at Tecumseh Arena from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to noon Sunday and Monday. The sand is available in the Lakewood Park South parking lot. Residents must bring their own bags and be ready to fill them and load them themselves, but the town says they are assembling volunteers to help.

The town has passed along a YouTube video to show people how to properly build a sandbag wall.