Kitchener-Waterloo

Flooding on Conestogo River cancels training for Canadian reservists

Flooding along the Grand River watershed has cancelled a scheduled training session for Canadian Army reserve members based in Waterloo.

“Assessment from the ground is that it will be unsafe” says squadron commander

Members of the Canadian Army Reserve take part in small boat exercises at Canadian Forces Base Borden, near Barrie during Operation Laser, the Canadian Armed Forces response to the pandemic. (Submitted by Navy Lieutenant Andrew McLaughlin, Department of National Defence, April 2020)

Flooding along the Grand River watershed has cancelled a scheduled training session for Canadian Army reserve members based in Waterloo.

Canadian Army Reserve members with 31 Combat Engineer Regiment, known as The Elgins, were to take part in convoy drills and assault boat operations in St. Jacobs and Woolwich Township Thursday evening.

But squadron commander with the regiment Sergio Suarez says the weather and flooding has forced them to cancel.

"The assessment from the ground is that it will be unsafe to continue," said Suarez. "And we need to err on the side of safety, as all things that we do with the army. So for that reason, we will be moving our training to what we call dry training in armouries around Waterloo."

Suarez says the training is part of an ongoing effort to maintain and further develop the skills of reservists to prepare for any domestic response such as flooding in the Ottawa area in 2019.

At least 25 reservists from the Waterloo location were scheduled to be part of the Thursday night training session which they'll now reschedule.

"We're going to get to utilize our boats. It is an inflatable boat that could carry eight to 12 soldiers," said Suarez.

"The idea behind the marine activity is to just get the boats on the water to get our feet wet and our hands dirty. And especially to give our soldiers an opportunity to use these boats because it's brand new for equipment that we have."

The entire squadron in Waterloo and St. Thomas is scheduled to be in the Meaford area this weekend for what Suarez describes as "a more intense exercise that we'll use to confirm skills … of our soldiers for their time away from the field and away from working as a team in person."

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