The record-setting flooding in Ottawa last spring was caused by a combination of weather and climate factors and not human error, according to a report released by the Ontario government on Thursday.
In July, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski named Doug McNeil as special advisor on flooding. MacNeil was asked to conduct an independent review of flood management and 2019 flooding events in Ontario, including those along the Ottawa River.
The report was delivered to the government on October 31.
According to the government, McNeil found that the record flooding was caused by a combination of weather conditions.
This includes a colder-than-average winter and spring, a higher-than-average snowpack, a lack of significant winter thaw, a rapid snowmelt and significant rain events in the spring.
McNeil also found that nothing pointed to human error or the negligent operation of water control structures as the cause of the flooding, and that the government and its partners were effective at reducing and mitigating flood risks.
“Mr. McNeil looked carefully at the core components of the Province’s approach to emergency management relative to last spring’s flood season and found that steps taken by individuals, municipalities, dam owners, and other agencies were effective in reducing further potential damage to communities,” Yakabuski said in a release.
“We are pleased by this conclusion, and we appreciate Mr. McNeil’s practical advice for the Province and other parties to help us to become more flood resilient.”
More than 9,000 volunteers and 750 military personnel came out to help as floodwaters forced over 150 homeowners along the river to evacuate their homes.