Flooded yard on Riverside Drive near Lauzon Road. Aug. 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Chase Stoyshin)

Record lake levels putting most people on edge

People showed up by the hundreds at a meeting in Windsor to hear what to do about record and rising high lake levels and overland flooding on their property.

However, most left wanting more information about what is coming and the likelihood their homes will be flooded.

James Bryant with the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) told the large crowd at the WFCU Centre Tuesday night that the record high water from massive Lake Superior will eventually come our way.

Most attendees like Ken, who lives in Lakeshore, said the uncertainty is really putting them on edge.

“Basically what they’re telling us is if the water is going to come it’s going to come. They really can’t tell me definitively if there’s going to be an event or not,” said Ken.

Ken said the information was vague and generic.

“What the odds are if there’s going to be an event. We’re told if there’s a giant storm with sustained winds there will be an event but nobody can really say to what extent,” he added.

Ken said he doesn’t want to be overly critical but these meetings are starting to get people panicked.

“They are good and well-intentioned and the people doing them are doing their best but I don’t think it’s helping, I think it’s making everybody more concerned because they really are faced with uncertainty now,” Ken said.

Windsor Fire Chief Stephen Laforet told the roughly 350 people in the crowd that there would be a uniform notification system in place in case of an emergency or an evacuation order. The chief said the alert ready system is similar to the Amber Alert System and must meet provincial criteria to be used.

The City of Windsor is applying for another $20 million in federal emergency funding on top of the $32 million from the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund received from Ottawa in April. The new money is for more pump stations and sewers to help protect against flooding in east Windsor.

The city is also looking at new concrete walls and earth berms to fortify the dyke system along east Windsor.

City Engineer Mark Winterton said the next big challenge is ice jams clogging up the waterways.

ERCA said Windsor-Essex has been under an extended flood watch since May 30 with most low-lying areas underwater for months.

There are two more meetings this week on Wednesday at the Vollmer Complex in LaSalle and Thursday at Lakeside Park in Kingsville. Both sessions are from 6:30 until 8 p.m.