WCDR flood meeting goes virtual

CONSTANCE BAY – Flooding is such an issue in West Carleton, West Carleton Disaster Relief (WCDR) wasn’t going to let a pandemic stop it from hosting an information session on the problem. But because of current climates, the session is virtual.

Originally the WCDR, in collaboration with Coun. Eli El-Chantiry had organized a public meeting for April 4 with representative from Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board (ORRPB). Of course, with the change in lifestyle due to the COVID-19 pandemic and gatherings of five or more being prohibited, the April 4 meeting was cancelled.

Constance Bay resident, Constance Buckham’s Bay Community Association (CBBCA) President and WCDR board member Len Russell wasn’t going to let that stop him. For the last couple of weeks, Russell has been working closely with the ORRPB’s senior water resources engineer Michael Sarich and executive engineer Manon Lalonde, Dunrobin resident, retired firefighter and Armitage Avenue flood fighter Paul Asmis and West Carleton Online meeting virtually to pit together a video presentation for the community that would replace the public meeting. After several virtual meetings, and a recording done on Thursday, April 2, the presentation is ready.

“Thank you for your patience,” Russell told West Carleton Online this morning (April 13). “The recorded April 4 Public Meeting presentation that ORRPB made for West Carleton is now available on YouTube. Unfortunately, it took longer than hoped with the distancing rules, some technical challenges, and my limited video editing skills.”

Originally, the video producers hoped to insert recorded questions from the community to keep the meeting as engaging as possible.

“The material isn’t as entertaining as we would have liked, you shouldn’t listen while driving, but the presentations are very informative,” Russell said. “To make the material more digestible it has been split into one 21-minute video discussing the factors that can and can’t contribute to spring flooding (locally) and a 49-minute presentation on the operation of the reservoirs and dams, including Cabonga and Chats Falls.”

While Russell hoped to host an actual public meeting at the NorthWind Wireless Fibre Centre in order to get public input, he felt the information on local factors is too important not to do something. Russell did contact the greater community to get input and questions for the video presentation and have incorporated the feedback in to the video presentation to make sure the focus was on the West Carleton community.

“Special thanks to the ORRPB’s Michael Sarich and Manon Lalonde who made a significant effort to customize this material for us and incorporate most of the advance questions; Jennifer Gardiner and Jordan Hughes of OPG for their support; and Paul Asmis and West Carleton Online for providing local participation,” Russell said. “Due to issues with sound quality and video length many of the actual questions were cut from the final videos, but the answers are still present. We are now working with ESA to add additional videos on black out prevention etc.”

To watch the 21-minute on factors that can and cannot contribute to spring flooding, click here.

To watch the 49-minute video on the operation of the reservoirs and dams, click here.