Following a detailed discussion at its regular March 12 council meeting, Champlain Township has issued a press release related to flood planning, sand and sand bags.
The feeling at the council meeting was that the sand and sand bags should be provided to residents who are trying to protect their homes, not for those who are trying to protect only land or waterfront. Contrary to the flood situations which have occurred in previous years, residents themselves will be responsible for filling the sand bags with sand and transporting them to their homes. In previous years, the township, volunteer firefighters and volunteers who were often recruited through township efforts, were working at the sand and sand bag depot to fill the bags and deliver them to homeowners where they often assisted to build sandbag barriers.
Vankleek Hill ward councillor Peter Barton said he felt the resolution about sand bags should mention that other services would continue to be offered by the township during an emergency.
West Hawkesbury ward councillor Gérard Miner said that he felt the resolution was only dealing with sandbags and that other items could be addressed at an upcoming meeting.
“Regardless of what we say, people perceive — and our firefighters are our emergency personnel when we need them. They are around-the-clock and don’t get a day off. I understand they are not there to do sandbags, but they are there (in an emergency),” Barton said.
It was agreed at the meeting that citizens would be advised that the municipality is making the sand and sand bags available to residents, who would have to make their own arrangements if they needed them during a flood emergency. After the flood emergency is over, residents would be expected to leave the spent bags of sand at the edge of the property on the side of the road on the public road allowance for collection by the municipality.
Councillors will advise residents that more information will be forthcoming about possible flood emergency situations.
According to a press release received on March 13, Champlain Township is engaged and assessing flood risks for spring 2020. If flooding becomes possible or imminent, the township says it will publish regular information about current watershed conditions so the residents in low-lying areas near water bodies can get prepared.
If a flood occurs, the press release said that the township will provide sand and bags for sand for pick-up at the L’Orignal Fire Hall for those residents who identify themselves as having residences at risk. Township employees and volunteer firefighters will no longer be filling, distributing, installing or removing sand bags as in the previous year but they will pick up sand bags that are placed at the municipal road allowance following the flooding event.
The township will be sending a letter to advise each of the residents who were previously affected by the flood.
Residents in flood prone or low-lying areas, historically susceptible to flooding, should also take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:
- Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve on it.
- Portable generator and backup pump.
- Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 m from the dwelling.
- Removing or securing items that might float away as flows increase.
- Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject to flooding.
- Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
- Familiarize yourself with your municipality’s emergency preparedness plan.