Durham, Ont. homeowners voice concerns following province’s flooding strategies announcement

Click to play video: 'Residents voice concerns ahead of flood season' Residents voice concerns ahead of flood season
WATCH: The province is outlining its flood mitigation strategies. Brittany Rosen has more on concerns from residents in Durham and the action they'd like to see taken by the government. – Mar 10, 2020

As flood season approaches, the Ontario government is outlining its flood mitigation strategies.

On Monday, the province announced new and enhanced plans of action, which include “increasing public access to current and timely information to better understand flood risks and how to prepare for flooding events,” and using “improved rainfall prediction data in long-term transportation infrastructure planning.”

WATCH: Proactive plan for Belleville flooding

Oshawa resident Sylvia Rhodes has lived on the shore of Lake Ontario for more than 20 years. Every year, as she looks out towards the water, she says she sees a little more of her land has eroded.

“We have neighbours who sustained heart attacks and various health issues, some as a result of worry and concern over the waters,” Rhodes said.

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The longtime resident says she’s seen the issue get worse in recent years. She can clearly remember the damage from 2017, when dozens were forced from their homes.

Historic flooding brought devastation to homeowners across Eastern Ontario, including Clarington, Belleville and Kingston.

Rhodes says policy changes from regulators of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River could help alleviate some of the damages seen in recent years.

“When the water levels reach a certain height in the St. Lawrence, there’s a hard stop and water is not released from the Great Lakes,” she said.

“We’d like to see that the policy is adjusted so that the pain, if erosion is suffered, if damage is suffered, that it’s suffered equally.”

READ MORE: Bowmanville residents cleaning up after being hit by floodwaters

For other neighbours, including 80-year-old Eric Webster, flooding has impacted his long-term plans.

“It’s really frustrating because we want to keep the property for our kids,” Webster said.

“It looks like it’s not going to be possible [because of] the way Lake Ontario is getting higher and higher and the banks are getting chewed up.”
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Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster says the municipality, which has been hit hard by floods over the past few years, currently does not receive funding from the feds or the province to deal with the issue.

READ MORE: Several drivers and their cars – stuck on flooded streets in Kingston

“It’s not just us. It’s impacting municipalities everywhere. If you’ve got a water front and river flowing through, we’re all spending money on this,” Foster said.

To date, the province says it has provided $7 million in disaster recovery funding assistance to impacted individuals, businesses and organizations as a result of spring 2019 flooding.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry invests $4.7 million annually into flood forecasting.

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