River, rains threaten shoreline
With this winter’s heavy snowfall melted and in the waterways, Aylmer and the region experienced heavy rains over the Easter weekend and during the following weeks. The combination of rainfall and high river levels has resulted in flooding in Aylmer and throughout the region. In Aylmer, the city is watching Terry Fox Road, below Eardley and running to the river, a portion of the Aylmer shoreline just south of Allumettières, and south of Lucerne Boulevard, approaching the Champlain Bridge.
According to Gatineau spokesperson Cynthia Lauzon, “weather and hydrological forecasts indicate an increase in river flows and levels in the region’s major rivers.”
Besides flood damage, the heavy rainfall affects the environment, sweeping contaminants into the river. Meredith Brown, the Ottawa Riverkeeper, told the Bulletin, “We haven’t seen river levels this high since 1996. When it floods, pollutants go into the water, releasing substances from parking lots, driveways and lawns, so oil and fertilizers will run into the river or lakes. In Ottawa and Gatineau, when the amount of storm water overwhelms the sewer pipes, it fills them up, so they have to open up the pipes because the city doesn’t want the sewage backing into people’s houses. So they release all that pollution into the river.”
Gatineau’s website contains a section with information to help residents deal with any flooding; authorities recommend, for example, moving belongings upstairs if they live in a zone next to the river.
The city has already distributed over 10,000 sandbags. In Aylmer, public works is handing out sandbags at 44 Eardley Road (the public works building) as well as the Parc du Tourbillon on Lake Street and Parc Louis-Roy on Louis-Roy Street. According to the city’s website, the sandbags should be placed close to the house, at the highest elevation possible. For more information, call 311.