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Couchiching First Nation flooding closes Five Mile Launch

Flood waters on the Couchiching First Nation has led to a decision to close Five Mile Launch, a major access point and launch on Rainy Lake.
Couchiching First Nation has been sandbagging as a defence against flooding from the swelling Rainy Lake. Emergency resources coordinator Christine Jourdain says on Sunday, the community got an emergency funding commitment from the federal government to build a retaining wall to save a dozen homes on the shoreline. (Sara Mainville)

Flood waters on the Couchiching First Nation have led to a decision to close Five Mile Launch, a major access point and launch on Rainy Lake.

The closure is expected to start Tuesday at 4 p.m. 

“After speaking with the department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we are closing the Five Mile Wharf and Launch today because it is pretty much fully under water,” said Christine Jourdaine, an emergency co-ordinator with the First Nation.

“The water has crept up on to the Five Mile dock road.”

The road to the launch will be barricaded and sandbagged, so the last available launch to boaters on lower Rainy Lake will be at Fort Frances.

... there are sinkholes in the cemetery-  Christine Jourdaine, emergency co-ordinator, Couchiching First Nation

Jourdaine added lake levels continue to rise more than 2.5 cm a day, and the forecast for more rain and thunderstorms is creating continued concern. The First Nation has already lost about five metres of shoreline due to erosion       

There are also problems at a graveyard located along the edge of Rainy Lake, Jourdaine noted.

The community is building a break wall to hold back flood waters from the cemetery, but she said some damage has already been done.

“We did just find out from a couple of our community control group members that … there are sinkholes in the cemetery,” she said.

“We are in the midst of going out to look to actually see what is happening.”

A local contractor is piling rock nearly two metres high to create a dam around the grave yard, Jourdaine added.

Photogallery provided by Sara Mainville.

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