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Published on Monday, July 24, 2017

Lake Ontario waters still 1.47m above normal

Water levels at Oakville shoreline dropping, but won't be back to normal any time soon

Lake Ontario waters still 1.47m above normal
Water levels at Oakville shoreline dropping
A submerged roadway leading to Oakville's Shipyard Park on May 26, 2017 — Photo by Graham Paine, Oakville Beaver Staff
By David Lea, Oakville Beaver

Water levels may be dropping, but residents shouldn’t expect to have access to parts of Oakville’s shoreline any time soon.

Oakville Fire Chief and Chief of Emergency Management Brian Durdin noted that despite water levels in Lake Ontario dropping from their May 29 high of 75.8 metres above sea level, they remain about 1.47 metres above where they are supposed to be.

The water levels rose due to record-setting wet weather in April and May.

“Right now, the Cornwall dam is flowing record amounts of water out of Lake Ontario at around 10,400 cubic metres per second,” said Durdin.

“What they are trying to do is take as much water out as possible while keeping the water in the St. Lawrence River at a safe level.”

The high water levels have had a considerable effect on the town, with Coronation Park and the Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park having to close due to flooding.

A power loss at Bronte Harbour has also meant the harbour docks are closed to residents at night because no lighting is available.

Durdin said that malfunction cannot be repaired until the water recedes.

While the Town of Oakville has applied for disaster relief funding from the federal government, Durdin says the water levels still have to go down further before it can be determined if Oakville even qualifies.

“The water is still too high for us to assess our damage,” he said.

“We have to wait until the water drops before we can safely assess any damage to seawalls, piers, and docks in the river.”

To make matters worse, it appears increasingly unlikely water levels will return to normal by the end of the year.

The International Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Board, which monitors the outflow of Lake Ontario, previously stated water levels would be back to normal by Dec. 22, provided there was average summer and fall precipitation.

“To this date we haven’t had a dry summer,” said Durdin.

The outlook is also grim for Oakville’s parks, with Durdin noting it is not just the water level, but the wind that is causing problems.

“They’ve been working diligently to reduce the standing water in the parks and as soon as we get an east wind it piles the water back into the parks,” he said.

“As soon the water recedes enough that it stops topping the beach wall then we will able to start getting in the remediation.”
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News




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