Ontario mayors call for flooding aid from province

Jade Fife, James McGreevy and Frank the dog use their boat to access their flooded property as...

Jade Fife, James McGreevy and Frank the dog use their boat to access their flooded property as water from the Otonabee River continues to rise. Clifford Skarstedt//QMI Agency

Luke Hendry, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:04 AM ET

BELLEVILLE, Ont. — Flood waters in this region northeast of Toronto are receding — slowly — but local mayors are calling for swift help from provincial officials.

“There’s going to be hundreds, if not millions, of dollars’ worth of damages,” Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis told QMI Agency after a Friday morning tour of the city’s flooded areas.

“When this clears, there’s probably going to be a few houses that are destroyed, and there’s no insurance for these people,” he said.

Ontario Minister of Community Safety Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek and Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith joined the mayor on the tour.

“Wednesday was a tough day. Thursday I think we all thought it was over, that it had the best of us,” Ellis said.

But city workers and volunteers responded, he said, and after peaking at 1 a.m., the Moira River’s flow rate and water level both began to decline.

He said declaring a state of emergency gives the city access to provincial funding — but that funding requires the community to raise money and would cause delays.

Ellis said his chief concern is for residents whose homes have been damaged, some of it potentially catastrophic.

“There are homeowners out here who are going to need funding. They’re going to need it as soon as possible.

“They’re going to be two weeks off work.”

He said the group visited one home where the damage estimate could hit $100,000.

“There’s a lot of devastation. There’s a few I’ve been into — I think they probably can’t be repaired,” he said.

“There’s a young gentleman who bought his house two months ago and the foundation’s caved in.”

Infrastructure damage will also cost the city millions of dollars in repairs, Ellis said.

“Eastern Ontario is probably the most impacted (by flooding) in all of the province,” Naqvi said.

He was to meet Friday afternoon with Tweed Mayor Jo-Anne Albert and Centre Hastings Mayor Owen Ketcheson.

Flooding in Tweed remained extensive. Mayor Jo-Anne Albert said “at least 300” properties were affected.

“It’s pretty sad.”

She said only when the water is lower will it be clear how Tweed’s 52 bridges and other infrastructure weathered the crisis.

To the west in the Peterborough region, water levels rose Friday as temperatures climbed, ice melted and rain fell.

The Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (ORCA) issued a flood warning for Kawartha Lakes, Otonabee River, Rice Lake and along the Trent River to Hastings.

In North Bay, Ont., residents were also warned of continued flooding as more snow melts over the weekend.

Residents in low lying areas within the South River, Pickerel River and Mattawa River Watersheds were advised to take necessary action to protect property and monitor developing conditions closely.

— With files from Sarah Deeth


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