Wolfe Island residents homes are now threatened by high water levels
The latest flood warning issued by the Quinte Conservation Authority places current Lake Ontario water levels only 7 cm lower than the record flood level set in 2017.
Wolfe Island sits at the mouth of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and pockets of residents along the shore are starting to deal with water in their homes.
Tony Miller and his wife bought their home in the Wolfe Islands village of Marysville only a few weeks ago.
Miller says a gas-powered pump is his main line of defence against water coming into the crawl space beneath his house.
“It’s a couple of feet deep,” he said.
He says the pump is stopping the issue from getting worse but it’s not getting any better either.
“I don’t know that we’re doing much other than just keeping it at bay. I mean what can you do the water’s high in the lake and we’re just pumping it back out into the lake?” said Miller.
It’s a similar tale at a number of homes all along the Marysville shoreline.
Driveways and yards are disappearing under the rising waters of Lake Ontario.
Jim Hulton lives just down the road from Miller and says he’s dealing with the same problem.
“Water’s coming into the basement pretty fast but the sump pump’s pumping it back out into the river,” he said.
Hulton has another issue his shore well is now completely submerged.
Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle says the municipality has made sand and bags available to residents free of charge.
Sandbagging helps in some instances but for a number of residents the water is coming up through the ground which means sandbags have little or no effect.
Two years ago, Frontenac Islands declared a state of emergency in large part because of the problems they were having with the Simcoe and Howe Island ferries.
The high water levels made it impossible for the tow ferries to dock.
The docks have now been raised and Doyle says they are keeping an eye on erosion which was also problematic in 2017.
“We’re watching the shorelines but it hasn’t been as bad as it was two years ago because we’ve built them up,” Doyle said.
The unanswered question is: is it enough this time around?
Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River aren’t expected to crest until possibly early June.
The Quinte Conservation Authority has also warned the Lake Ontario levels could reach and even possibly slightly exceed 2017’s flood waters.
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