Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hyer Talks To Toews About Flood

Thunder Bay MP Bruce Hyer just wrapped up a chat with Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.  Hyer says the Federal Government has money set aside for flood assistance but it will only flow if matching Provincial funds are available.  Hyer adds Thunder Bay's Military Reservists can also be deployed to help flood victims but only if the Provincial Government requests it.

Province Take Active Role In Relief

The provincial government is taking an active role in helping communities hit by this week's flooding. Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle says a variety of ministries are helping out all the affected areas to make sure they can recover from the storm. Meantime, Gravelle suggests there could be hope for victims of basement flooding in Thunder Bay, but the city will have to act. He says the province's Disaster Relief Program is where they can apply for assistance. Gravelle says the city has to make the request, which they haven't done yet.

Stats Can Release Age Info

Thunder Bay's population is dominated by Seniors.  That's the latest findings in the 2011 census from Statistics Canada.  Spokesperson Vince Dale says we have a higher population of seniors than the National average.  Senior citizens now represent 17.2 per cent of the population of Thunder Bay.

City Talks Flood Insurance

Hundreds of people have flooded basements in the City.  City Spokesperson Darryl Matson says people who are worried about their insurance claims can contact the City's Sewer and Water Department or their Insurance provider.  Meanwhile, Matson says they don't know if the City's insurance will cover the cost of the destruction at the water treatment plant.

Charities Fill A Need

Two local charity groups are working to help the people affected by basement flooding, especially in the East End.   The Red Cross volunteers are working to redirect some affected people to proper housing, while the Salvation Army is operating services for lunch and dinner with its mobile van.

Flood Warning Remains

There's no change to the region's flood warning from the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority. Chair Bill Bartley says while the water levels are starting to go down we are not out of the woods yet.
Bartley says the amount of water that has gone through the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway has been the most since it was opened.

Horwath Offers Help

The Province's NDP leader says she is ready to help the city in any way she can. Andrea Horwath says she made the offer to Mayor Hobbs when she called him by phone this morning. She said that if Hobbs ever found the provincial response to our emergency wasn't to his liking she could assist. Horwath says she has been keeping an eye on the flood problems here.

Baggage Building Set To Open June 15th

The owners of the Painted Turtle Art Shop will run the new Baggage Building Arts Centre at Prince Arthur's Landing starting June 15th.  Lorraine Cull and Angela Jensen will provide interim programming this summer. The City entered into an agreement with the two women recently.

Conmee Remains On Alert

Conmee Township remains in a State of Emergency due to this week's flooding.  Reeve Kevin Holland says Highway 11-17 remains closed between Highway 590 and Highway 102.  All roads within the community are now open to local traffic only with the exception of portions of Mokomin Road East and Hume Road.

CEDC Welcomes Communitech CEO

The Community Economy Development Commission is learning about what Thunder Bay can do to improve its economy.  The CEDC brought in the President of Waterloo based company Communitech to speak about the similarities between the two communities.  Iain Klugman told the CEDC they need to grow Thunder Bay's medical research economy.

Mayor Visits East End

The State of Emergency continues in Thunder Bay as city officials struggle to go get control of the situation at the crippled sewage treatment plant on Atlantic Avenue. They say until the flooding at the plant is settled they're asking residents to continue conserving water. The city says they've recieved up to 500 calls about flood complaints, many of which are flooded basements. Mayor Keith Hobbs says he's been to the most affected area with flooding and that is the east end and is impressed with the way the people are pitching in.

Lee Stuesser Is Law School Dean

Rod Hanley and Lee Stuesser
Lee Stuesser is Lakehead University's new Law School Dean.  Canadian born Stuesser has been busy working at Australia's Bond University as a Professor.  Stuesser says they'll be hiring a librarian and teaching staff in the near future.  The school is set to open in September of 2013.

Conservation Authority Update At 10 A.M.

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority continues its flood warning for the entire Lakehead region. This includes the City of Thunder Bay, the municipalities of Neebing, Oliver-Paipoonge, Shuniah and the townships of O'Connor, Conmee, Gillies and Dorion. The Neebing-McIntyre floodway is diverting significant water flow and will do so for several days. The L.R.C.A. will update their flood warning at 10:00 a.m. this morning.

Salvation Army Set To Help Out Flood Victims

The Salvation army is helping out with those who have been forced from their homes due to flooding. The local Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services team is prepared for food and hydration for up to 200 to be served at the evacuation centre in the Neebing Arena for those displaced by the emergency. Divisional Director, Perron Goodyear says “The Salvation Army is committed to assisting in any way they can during these very difficult days.”

Dog Lake Down To Dam Is Dangerous

Stay away from water on the Kaministiquia River between Dog Lake and Kakabeka Falls. That's the message coming from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Power Generation. The Ministry of Natural Resources and O.P.G. continue to monitor the high water levels currently existing on the Kaministiquia Watershed. Officials say there is a potential for flooding of the Silver Falls Road and areas along the Kaministiquia River between Dog Lake and Kakabeka Falls.

School Closures And Bus Updates

Due to road conditions please be advised of the following cancellations and or school closures. Kakabeka Falls and Crestview. Busing is also cancelled for all Lakehead secondary students from these areas. All other Lakehead Public schools are open today.

The Thunder Bay Catholic and C.S.D.C. Des Aurora Borealis are reporting route closures. Busing has been cancelled for: Conmee Township and the Municipality of Oliver-Paipoonge North of Highway 11-17. All of the Thunder Bay Catholic and C.S.D.C. Des Aurora Borealis schools are open today.

Edward St. Bridge Closed

City Police and the Thunder Bay Fire Department have closed the bridge that crosses the Neebing River at Edward St. Motorists will not be able to cross this morning and will be detoured accordingly.

Overnight Flood Updates

As part of the ongoing response to the City flood emergency, the City of Thunder Bay closed the Edward Street Bridge over the Neebing River shortly after 10 p.m. Monday as a precaution due to the high water level. The bridge will be evaluated  during the day on Tuesday to reassess the situation

As the East End was particularly hard hit by flooding, City crews were installing portable toilets by 12:30 am Tuesday.

The short-term reception centre is in place at the Neebing Arena. By end of day on Monday, two persons attended the centre to ask for information and no persons made use of the available transportation from the staging area at the Slovak Legion, 801 Atlantic Avenue. The reception centre will remain available, if required, and residents are encouraged to call 211 for more information.

The following facilities were closed as of 5 pm Monday: the Canada Games Complex, Churchill and Volunteer Pools, the 55 Plus Centre and the West Thunder Community Centre.

The City has implemented a contingency strategy which includes an assessment at the Secondary Sewage Treatment Plant. The City is unable to confirm timelines for completion of the assessment and remedial action.

The City was also dealing with the following road closures:
· North 25th Side Rd. from Arthur Street to the north end
· Mission Marsh Rd.
· Kline Rd. extension (also known as Little Kline Rd.), to the end
· Highway 130 from Oliver Rd. to Pole Line Rd.
· Oliver Rd. from Mapleward Rd. to Townline Rd.

Residents and businesses are asked to follow the following recommendations:
· Check on friends and relatives who may need assistance and particularly seniors and persons with disabilities to make sure they are in good health.
· Minimize the amount of water that is flushed or released down the drain until further notice. City tap water is safe to drink [However, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit recommends
those on private well water should bring the well water to a rolling boil for one minute before consumption].
· Exercise caution when travelling in the area of waterways.
· Stay out of the basement if it is flooded, especially if water has risen as high as electrical outlets and advise Thunder Bay Hydro at 343-1111.
· Do not consume food that is wet due to flooding and follow the Thunder Bay District Health Unit’s recommendations for food safety during a power outage. Visit www.TBDHU.com.

Important contact numbers:
· Thunder Bay Hydro – 343-1111 or after hours 343-1002 – for electrical problems or concerns
· Infrastructure & Operations – 625-2195 – to report flooding or for questions or concerns about City roads and other City infrastructure
· Ministry of Transportation – 511 – for information about provincially-owned highways
· 211 for general information and details on reception centre
· 911 should only be called if there is an emergency