Mattawa mayor hoping province 'will come good for people' following flooding
‘Situation affecting a lot of homes on an hourly basis,’ Mayor Dean Backer says
Mattawa Mayor Dean Backer says he's hoping provincial officials will step up to the plate and assist the flood-affected town.
Backer said while the situation has been "contained" in some parts of the town, "some of our infrastructure is literally crumbling" in other parts.
"The groundwater situation in the valley part of Mattawa, it's affecting a lot of homes on an hourly basis," Backer told CBC News on Sunday.
"The water's seeping through their basement, cracking foundations, and in some places shifting homes. Due to the fact that they are on the lower ground part of Mattawa — even though it's not visible to the eye — they're feeling the effect and will continue to feel the effect for a while."
One of those affected in this way is Cody Whaley.
He said since Friday he has been helping his mother dig a trench to keep the water out of her basement.
"Everyone around us is full of water. It's coming from below us. We can't do anything about it," Whaley told CBC News.
Backer says municipal officials are in constant contact with Finance Minister Vic Fedeli's office to update them about the situation.
"He did a tour of Mattawa and we're hoping that they'll come good for these people," Backer said.
"There's a lot of damage, a lot of devastation, a lot of property damage. We will do our best as a municipality along with the provincial government to make sure that a lot of our constituents are compensated."
"We are a small municipality and we are not rich," Backer added.
Waters expected to keep rising
As snow continues to melt further north, the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority is predicting that the levels on the Ottawa River will continue to rise.
Water resources engineer Kurtis Romanchuk says forecasts show the Ottawa could go up by another 23 centimetres before peaking this spring.
He says the situation has been helped by the opening up of control dams in the Temiskaming district.
"There's still lots of water melting up north and many of the reservoirs that are up stream north of Temiskaming in Quebec are approaching their maximum or at their maximum," Romanchuk said. "So there continues to be a lot of water that's moving down."
Romanchuk is also keeping an eye on the rising waters in Lake Nipissing, which he forecasts will go up by another 12 centimetres before the spring melt is over.