Heavy rainfall, high water causes damage
The rain began Thursday evening, and by Sunday, everyone had a story. Roads and trails submerged. Houses sandbagged. Basements flooded. Rivers and marshes overflowed their banks, the beaches all but disappeared, and farmers’ fields suddenly became lakes.
It was never particularly rainy, but the constant drizzle and droplets led to record-breaking rainfall on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Now the water has begun to recede, slowly. But there is still damage to contend with. As some residents call their landlords or insurance companies to manage, the County will have to survey any repairs that must be made to roads and bridges where water coursed over the surface.
The County’s operations manager, Preston Parkinson, has overseen problems on County lands, posting warnings online and onsite to avoid certain roads, trails and boat launches.
In Wellington, the sea wall that stands between the village’s park and its beach will have to be repaired. In the meantime, the area is cordoned off.
“With the lake being so high, any waves coming in are directly slamming into the wall. So there’s a spot to the right of the stairs that’s been completely washed out.”
Parkinson says there is a hole about 1.5 metres tall in the wall. The soil beneath it is unstable, and will give way in the water.
The damage to Wellington’s sea wall was not a surprise. The wall was slated for major repairs in the 2017 municipal budget.
“We had that in for replacement already, so it was inspected. So that’s just going to speed things up.” Parkinson says the wall would likely have been rebuilt in the fall, once tourist traffic dies down in the park. Instead, the wall will have to be replaced.
“As soon as the project schedule is tendered. We may have to do it during the busy time. It will have minimal impact to the park anyway, because it’s in the area that’s already fenced off.”
However, Parkinson warns that adventurous people should not attempt to see the damage for themselves.
“The earth is unstable,” says Parkinson. “Because we have washouts. And if people climb that fence we’ll have to install a higher, more intrusive-looking fence. We went with a snow fence just because it doesn’t look as bad as a six-foot-tall construction fence,” says Parkinson. “It’s definitely a safety hazard. The public should stay away.”