MNRF Minister John Yakabuski hailed the Eganville Flood Meetings as respectful and constructive.
The panel included members from Ontario and Renfrew Power Generation Corporations, as well as reps from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Ontario Power Generation lead the presentations with stats on this year’s flood. They said the combination of above average precipitation, rapid increase in temperature and a heavy water content in snow combined into a perfect storm. The snow in the majority of the watersheds of the Madawaska and Bonnechere Rivers was measured 200-300 milliliters of water within snow packs, much higher than average with very few melt events. Precipitation in the last two weeks of April was 200% of normal levels and the rapid increase in temperatures caused extra melting. As a result, water at some points in the watersheds rose 3 feet per day.
When the panel was opened to the floor, a number of residents had a mix of statements and questions. It was proposed that the levels of Round Lake be lowered prior to spring floods during the fall beyond their current levels. Currently Renfrew Power Generation drains the lake to a certain point, but residents demanded more. Yakabuski said there was amendment that was on the table to alter the water management plans for the watersheds accordingly. He added that any amendment to the water management plan would be approved by MNRF if it comes past his desk. Townships expressed their frustration with previous MNRF ministers about a lack of movement on the flood plan. On extra dumping of water into resevoirs, RPG and Ontario Power Generation said that the lakes could not handle anything more than they already had dumped without causing extra problems.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs also offered compensation for those affected by the floods. Anyone within Renfrew county who spent money in relocation, damages, or other costs associated with flooding could find themselves reimbursed up to $250,000. The MMAH said to approach insurance companies first, gather any financial data, and submit a claim by August 27th. They say cottages are not covered, but any primary residence is. Information on the reimbursement can be found here.