Flood support centres to close, call for volunteers scaled back
Constance Bay centre will remain open for now, city officials say
Some of the emergency measures put in place to deal with this spring's major flooding are being lifted as water levels have peaked and slowly start to drop in most areas.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, Pierre Poirier, the city's head of emergency management, said volunteers would likely not be needed this weekend, but will be required again in the coming weeks.
Poirier also said the city will close its community support centres at the Pinecrest Recreation Complex and the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum as of 7 p.m. Friday.
The west Ottawa location at the Constance and Buckham's Bay Community Centre will remain open, providing people with water and shower facilities, Poirier said.
Don't go 'sight-seeing,' official warns
Poirier also warned residents against "sight-seeing" at flooded areas in order to keep roads clear for emergency crews and city vehicles.
The City of Gatineau's morning update said water levels had dropped across the city by about 10 centimetres in the last 24 hours.
The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board, which controls and monitors the river, said in its last update late Thursday afternoon that water levels have peaked from the Arnprior, Ont., and Pontiac, Que., areas east, including in Ottawa-Gatineau.
Pembroke, Ont., has slightly dropped since Sunday, though the highest water levels seen this spring could be yet to come early next week.
Lac Coulonge east of Pembroke got as high as 109.10 metres above sea level and could go back up in the next few days to once again match Monday's high-water mark.
Ottawa has scaled back its request for volunteers, the province of Quebec was able to get westbound Highway 50 on the Draveurs Bridge back to normal around Hull after flooding forced a few days of lane reductions, and Gatineau provincial government offices are open for the first time this week.
In Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Que., about 50 people who were forced to leave their homes when a dam was at risk of failing were allowed to move back Thursday night.
People living on Churchill Avenue North in Ottawa who had been asked not to flush toilets, wash dishes or shower because of a strained sewer system are now allowed to use them again, though the city is asking residents to minimize their use if possible.
Gatineau still saw about a hundred more people register as flood victims in the last 24 hours, for a total of 1,936 as of 5 a.m., and issued about another 100 more voluntary evacuation notices for a total of 979.
Today's forecast, as the focus starts to turn from flood defence to flood cleanup, calls for drizzle in Ottawa before a warm, sunny weekend.
The water will still be "uncomfortably high" for a few weeks, said the river board's senior engineer Michael Sarich on Thursday, as northern areas of the river basin get the rest of the spring snow melt.
"We are still measuring snow pack in multiple metres in some locations, so there is still a lot of water to come," he said, which will slow the water decline.
The board's next update is expected at about 9 a.m.