The past two weeks have been immensely difficult for many individuals and families across Ottawa West – Nepean. I speak of course of the flooding that has occurred along the Ottawa River.
I have had the chance to speak to many residents over this time. I have been struck by their resiliency and by the tremendous outpouring of support that we have seen from across the City.
In Britannia, I visited with several residents along Kehoe who were facing the brunt of flood risk along the river. Teams of volunteers were reinforcing the berm, which was heartwarming to see.
In Belltown, residents worked alongside the NCC to reinforce the old railway bike path. When the path began to erode, the NCC mobilized quickly to dump over 250,000 lbs of rubble along the shoreline. The barrier held thanks to their quick action.
And in Crystal Bay, along Grandview, hundreds of volunteers worked alongside first-responders and the military to fill sandbags and build protective barriers around homes at risk.
The sights along Grandview – the worst hit street in our riding – were startling. Several houses were completely surrounded by water.
But there were also heartwarming sights. Everywhere you turned, you could see neighbours helping neighbours. The community spirit that defines us as Canadians was on fine display.
I know I speak for all residents in thanking our armed forces men and women for stepping up in our time of need.
Now, I would like to take a brief moment to address some misinformation around provincial funding for flood mitigation. To clear up any confusion, there have been no reductions to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s (RVCA) capacity to provide core services like flood mitigation. Provincial funding towards the RVCA represents less than 10% of their total funding. While there has been a minimal reduction in this funding, the Conservation Authorities themselves have said that this will not input flood programs.
Going forward, I look forward to working with our City partners on clean-up efforts. Moreover, I have already begun conversations with residents on how we can be best prepared for the future. We learnt a great deal following the flooding of 2017. We need to now look to our experience in 2019.
So my question this week is this: what measures do you think governments can take on flood prevention and mitigation? Are there any lessons that can be learned from our experience this year?Have your say by contacting our office directly at 613-721-8075 or firstname.lastname@example.org.