The City of Belleville is raising its roads as part of the city’s proactive strategy to address concerns over potential flooding in neighbourhoods near Lake Ontario.
Street closures are also part of the plan. Mayor Mitch Panciuk says the moves are being made to mitigate the impact on residents, businesses, property owners and city infrastructure.
“Right now, all indications are that the (Moira River) is going to subside so that’s the good news,” said Panciuk. “We do have some flooding, but it’s the flooding we have every year. Lake Ontario is the concern, and it’s particularly because of the problems that are in Lake Erie and also downstream, where they can’t release as much water as we would like to.”
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The city is rushing to block off roadways like Harbour Drive along with South George, South Church and South John streets, some of which are set to be elevated.
On Friday, city work crews were placing large cement blocks along a number of affected streets before dump trucks brought load after load of gravel.
Joseph Reid, the city’s general manager of transportation and operations services, says the flooding of 2017 was very much a learning experience for Belleville.
“We want to make (sure) we’re getting ahead of the curve,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to place these blocks and gravel in place while the road is still dry. (From) the health and safety perspective of our staff, it’s a lot easier, and they’re not having to move around in hip waders and rubber boots and getting soaked.”
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Belleville residents are being advised to take precautions to protect their property and stay away from the affected areas.