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Thunder Bay declares state of emergency over flooding

Thursday May 31, 2012

Thunder Bay has declared an emergency over flooding at the Atlantic Avenue Secondary Sewage Treatment Plant.

“At 8:15 a.m. this morning (May 28) we declared an emergency due to the excessive amount of rain that has fallen on the city,” said Ken Boshcoff, acting mayor for the City of Thunder Bay. “The Emergency Operations Control Group met this morning and we are working closely with the Ministry of the Environment and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to get the sewage treatment facility up and running.”

The city had earlier advised residents to avoid flushing or releasing water down the drain until the situation is addressed as crews are pumping water from the sewage treatment plant in order to assess the damage and determine the next course of action.

Residents were also asked not to eat any food that became wet due to basement flooding.

“We’re asking people not to go into their basements,” said John Hay, fire chief for Thunder Bay. “If the water has reached electrical outlets they should call Thunder Bay Hydro at 343-1111 or 343-1002. We’re also asking people not to call 911 unless they’re in peril.”

The Lakehead Regional Conservation Authority also declared a flood warning after 25 to 108 millimetres of rain fell on the Thunder Bay area over a 24-36 hour period.

“People should stay away from flowing water for at least the next couple of days,” said Bill Bartley, chair of the Lakehead Regional Conservation Authority. “More rain is on the way and it isn’t safe to be near rivers and streams.”

The Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge also declared a state of emergency and asked residents to remain at their residences.

Most main roads in Oliver Paipoonge had multiple wash outs due to rain and flooding, including Hwy. 11-17, Oliver Rd., Twin City Crossroads, Fraser Rd., Boulter Rd., Poleline Rd., Veley Lane, Maki Rd. and Mud Lake Rd.

The Ministry of Transportation also issued an advisory for road closures due to washouts along Hwy. 11/17 west of Kakabeka Falls, between Hume Road and Spruce Grove Lane; west of Vibert Road; and east of Twin City Crossroad.

Hwy. 642 east of Highway 516 intersection was also closed due to a major washout.
Portage Creek Road, at the first bridge, and Laukka Lane at Auto Road were also closed.
Numerous areas of the Fort William side of Thunder Bay were affected by flooding, including Northwood, Intercity and parts of Westfort and James St.

Numerous basements in the Northwood area were flooded and the Northwood Mall was flooded out.
The James St. underpass leading to Fort William First Nation was closed due to flooding.
Most ditches in the Intercity were overflowing and beginning to cover the roads.

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