Water levels in Mattawa, Ont., have reached “record levels,” as the town grapples with an ongoing flooding emergency.
“The problem was we got caught at the last minute. For the last couple weeks, we were told that things have reached their peak, there’s absolutely no danger,” Mattawa Mayor Dean Backer told Global News on Friday.
Mattawa declared a flooding state of emergency on Monday after being told that the town would receive two feet of water by Tuesday.
So far, about 18 to 20 homes have been affected by the floods, Backer said. “We have a full apartment complex with 10 families that have been displaced.”
Officials are advising residents who live in low-lying areas adjacent to the Mattawa and Ottawa rivers to be prepared for possible evacuation.
According to Backer, it’s not clear whether water levels in Mattawa have reached their peak.
“It’s affecting the groundwater system and the groundwater is affecting houses where basements are being flooded, where in some instances, they’re losing their foundations,” Backer said.
A berm, which is a barrier, was built around Mattawa, and according to Backer, it’s saved about hundreds of homes so far.
“If we were to take some more water… it could cause problems because there could be breaches in the berm, and it could take literally part of our Main Street and definitely lots of streets will be affected, which in turn will affect many more homes,” Backer said.
- Gorman Street, from Main Street to Pine Street
- Mattawan Street, from Pine Street to Sid Turcotte Park Road
- Bangs Street, from Main Street to Timmins Street
- Timmins Street, from Water Street to Bangs Street
- Brook Street, from Highway 17 to Ottawa Street
- Corner of Twelfth Street and Bissett Street
The bridge connecting Main Street to Highway 533 is not closed.
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“I inspected both bridges, Site 43X-0092/B0 today due to concerns with the flood and high water level,” the Northeast Region Ministry of Transportation management office said in a statement. “Both structures were found in safe condition, no movements of the structures have been observed at the time of the inspection. Water level was approximately 3 ft below bottom of the trusses.”
Anyone who has been evacuated or is self-evacuating from their homes can go to the Mike Rodden Arena and Community Centre at 450 Hurdman St., which will be open 24 hours a day until further notice.
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People who need sandbags can call the town’s municipal office at 705-744-5611.
The Mattawa Mental Health Support Centre is available 24 hours a day at 705-744-4567.
The town is advising people not to drive on flooded roads and to heed road closed signs.
The local conservation authority and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are continuing to monitor conditions.