310 Ottawa homes affected by flooding, state of emergency not needed: Mayor Watson

Provincial officials will be here Tuesday to help residents affected by flooding apply for funding relief, but the city will not declare a state of emergency, Mayor Jim Watson said Monday.

Disaster relief assistance available for residents, but state of emergency not needed, city says

A woman fills sandbags in Ottawa on May 6, 2017. As of Monday, May 8, 310 homes in Ottawa have been affected by flooding. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Provincial officials will be in Ottawa Tuesday to help residents whose homes have been flooded apply for disaster relief funding, Mayor Jim Watson said Monday, but the city will not declare a state of emergency or ask for military support.

As of Monday morning, 310 homes in Ottawa have been directly affected by flooding and 75 families have been displaced. 

Watson said 275 of those homes are in West Carleton-March, 25 are in Cumberland and 10 are in Bay ward.

The mayor began the briefing by thanking first responders and volunteers who have been working on the ground to help residents during what he called a difficult time. 

"I've watched neighbours help neighbours fill sandbags and neighbours help neighbours leave their homes," Watson said.

"In Cumberland I heard about a team who worked tirelessly over a two-day period to save six properties from the water," Watson said, adding that unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in the end.

In Constance Bay, volunteers served 1,200 hot meals on Sunday.

"Everyone is stepping up under incredibly difficult circumstances," Watson said.

Water creeps closer to Fernand Viau Cumberland home on May 4. (CBC)

Volunteers still needed

He expects the city will continue to need volunteers for the next three weeks. Residents can sign up online on the city website.

The last large natural disaster of this scale the city experienced was the 1998 ice storm, Watson said.

"Certainly from a flooding point of view I've never seen anything this bad."

Despite the comparison, the mayor said the city does not need to declare a state of emergency.

"A large city that has resources that we have does not require the mayor to declare a state of emergency. A smaller municipality like Clarence-Rockland needs that extra help, but we don't," Watson said.

"It has to be something where we're so overwhelmed we don't have the resources financial, personnel or equipment to deal with the situation."

Volunteers work to prevent Ottawa's Constance Bay neighbourhood from flooding on May 6, 2017. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

3 info sessions scheduled for Tuesday, 1 on Wednesday

The city has scheduled three information sessions for Tuesday and an additional one on Wednesday so residents affected by the flooding can get information about how to apply for disaster relief funding from the province.

The maximum payment per application is $250,000, Watson said.

Residents are advised not to get rid of any ruined furniture or appliances until they've taken pictures of the damage. People are also asked to keep any receipts for expenses they've incurred during the flooding.

The Tuesday meetings will run about one hour and take place at the following locations:

  • 1 p.m. at the Nepean Sportsplex, Halls C and D
  • 3:30 p.m. at the R.J. Kennedy Arena, Main Hall in Cumberland 
  • 6:30 p.m. at the Fitzroy Harbour Community Assoc. Community Centre

A fourth meeting will take place Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Constance and Buckham's Bay Community Centre in Woodlawn.

Cumberland, Bay and West Carleton-March wards affected

The township of Frontenac Islands is making sandbags available for residents affected by flooding. . (Ashley Burke/CBC)

Ottawa is working with the province to help residents, said city manager Steve Kanellakos. 

In Cumberland, the flooding is concentrated in what is commonly referred to as Boise Village. Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais said the beach at Petrie Island is completely submerged. 

In Bay ward, the flooding is affecting Britannia, Belltown and the Crystal Bay neighbourhoods, said Bay ward Coun. Mark Taylor. He added that the Britannia berm did help keep the water at bay, mitigating flooding in Britannia Village.

In Constance Bay, the water appears to have stabilized, said West Carleton-March ward Coun. Eli El-Chantiry. Some homes are without power but running on generators and firefighters continue to go door-to-door to check on residents.

It's not a zoo, folks, you don't need to drive around and take pictures.- Eli El-Chantiry, Ottawa city councillor

All three councillors thanked volunteers for lending support to people whose homes have been affected. But those who aren't volunteering were asked to stay away from flooded areas.

"It's not a zoo folks, you don't need to drive around and take pictures," El-Chantiry said. 

Watson said he'll be in the hardest hit communities again Monday afternoon with his colleagues, and planned to visit Cumberland with Premier Kathleen Wynne.

The communities of Dunrobin, Fitzroy Harbour and MacLaren's Landing are also affected.