- Category: news
- Created: Monday, 16 September 2013 13:29
- Published: Monday, 16 September 2013 13:29
- Written by Administrator 3
- Hits: 544
By Jeffrey Ougler, Sault Star
ALGOMA DISTRICT - Batchewana First Nation has joined a host of other outlying communities in declaring a state of emergency due to excess rainfall earlier in the week, causing flooding and road washouts.
All of Batchewana’s land bases — Rankin, Obadjiwan, Whitefish Island and primarily Goulais Bay — are affected.
Chief Dean Sayers could not be reached for comment Friday, but a release says officials advise residents of the Goulais Bay area that response times may be delayed due to accessibility. The First Nation has also issued a boil-water advisory. Batchewana health staff will test water in each community and, until results are confirmed, the advisory will remain in effect.
Residents are asked to contact the band office with any questions or to report damages, or safety hazards.
Meanwhile, the mop-up continues in a number of small communities east of Sault Ste. Marie that declared states of emergency earlier in the week.
Plummer Additional, Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional, the Township of Johnson and the Municipality of Huron Shores, remained under a state of emergency as of late Friday afternoon. But all municipalities are reporting the majority of their roads have re-opened.
Huron Shores officials are slated to meet Monday to determine when this might be lifted.
Highway 17, the Trans-Canada route between Thessalon and Iron Bridge, remained closed Friday. Motorists must detour via Highway 129, at Thessalon, and Highway 546.
Clerk/treasurer Deborah Tonelli said township routes, save for Ansonia Road, are open.
"We have temporary fixes at this point,” she said Friday afternoon. “Certainly, we're going to be weeks, maybe even years, getting improvements done."
Lynne Duguay, clerk/administrator for Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional, said the “majority” of roads there are open, including Highway 638.
Bar River Road remains closed to through traffic. Also, a “small” section of Government Road that intersects with Barr River Road is closed.
The Ministry of Transportation is inspecting bridges. Ritter Bridge remains closed on Cemetery Road, but the rest of the road is open. Those on the north side of bridge have access out via Watson Road, and those on the south side have access via Bar River Road.
Johnson Township Mayor Ted Hicks said Friday the township is “doing quite well.”
“Things have pretty well dried out, per se,” he added. "As far as our roads, we're delighted that we've been able to (open them) … it will be a while before they get back to where they were, obviously. But everything came together well."
Diamond Lake Road received the most damage.
"Anybody who needs to get through is shown the way,” Hicks said, adding crews plan to work through the weekend.
“All the material that was sent down the road is basically in the old ditches, so now we have no ditches,” Hicks said. “Now we have to go re-ditch that material and remove it in the event there's another rainstorm, and it has to be drained."
Hicks said he realizes things could have been much worse, referring to the massive flooding that hit Wawa, north of Sault Ste. Marie, last October. It washed away cars, homes and huge chunks of the Trans-Canada Highway and caused more than $10 million in damage in the town of 3,000.
“I remember reading about that in the paper and saying, ‘Oh dear, I'm glad it wasn't me,’ ” Hicks said. “(Johnson’s flooding) was nothing to the extent they had. But I think we came through this pretty well."
Officials sent out flyers to residents warning about the possibility of wells being contaminated, as flooding caused groundwater to go into well systems.
In Plummer, the following roads remained closed as of Friday:
— Plummer Road, from Centre Line to West Road;
— Ledyit Road, east of Highway 638 to Highway 17 East;
— Mount Zion East, east of Highway 638. Only passable for 1.5 kilometres;
— Linquist Road, full length;
— Matheson Road, full length;
— McPhail Road, from East Line to the intersection of McPhail and Chapman;
— Asam, east of Highway 638.
The Algoma District School Board said Friday it is “expected” that all buses will run in Central Algoma on Monday, albeit there might be delays due to road conditions, both within Sault Ste. Mare and Central Algoma.
Don’t expect to board the Agawa Canyon Tour Train Monday.
Damage to the road bed on which track sits, due to high water levels near Root River, has halted the attraction in its tracks.
"The whole road bed has been washed away, so it doesn't give the track any support,” said Lindsay Fedchyshyn, CN’s regional manager of public and government affairs. “It's kind of a Mother Nature issue there. It's going to be quite the job (to repair)."
The train is slated to resume running Sept. 24.
"Very unfortunate, but we are working on it around the clock, out there, to restore that site,” Fedchyshyn said. “Community safety is No. 1. It's a big job and they'll be out there for a while."