'We're stuck with this water': Few answers provided at Lakeshore flood meeting
The town promised to speak with individual residents in the days following the meeting
Hundreds of concerned residents from Lakeshore and Tecumseh gathered at the Atlas Tube Centre Monday night to attend the first of four series of meetings -- hosted by ERCA -- on the rising water levels and flooding in Windsor-Essex.
Many were hoping find out what they, as homeowners, can and cannot do to protect their properties under ERCA's rules, but some said they were still left unsure.
"I was hoping to get ... a plan of action, but they just told us what we already know," said Steve O'Neil, a Lakeshore resident whose property is affected by flooding.
Dave Sabolick is another Lakeshore resident who claims nine metres (30 feet) of his yard is covered in water. He was hoping to hear more long-term solutions, adding that "sandbagging is a waste of time."
"I got more charts and data and I guess it's all good to know, but still, I'd like to know how I can protect my property," said Sabolick.
Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain said the meeting was meant to be informative and provide context as to why lake levels are so high. He also said he didn't anticipate the high volume of attendees, adding that the room was at capacity.
Tim Byrne, the Director of Watershed Management for the Essex Region Conservation Authority, led the meeting.
Byrne told residents the outflow from Lake Superior is one of the leading causes of the high lake levels on Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, adding that water levels could rise up to four more inches in the coming months.
He also said some of the issues go beyond what the government can control.
"There [are] extremely limited amounts of things that can be done at this point in time in the areas that actually require work to be done," said Byrne.
"We are now seeing more concern by people who've invested private monies into these areas, but in reality, some of these areas shouldn't have been developed."
Maureen Harris, the Head of School of Lakeview Montessori School and a Lakeshore resident, thought the meeting went well because of the high turnout.
"It shows everyone involved how many people are concerned because there wasn't seating room for half of the people who were here," said Harris. "It indicates people are concerned. People realize ... storms are coming, the levels are increasing."
She also said it's frustrating to know there isn't much anyone can do about the flooding.
"We can't just suck up the oceans on the earth. We're stuck with this water. But, it would be nice to be able to be reassured that if something does happen, we can keep our children safe, our dogs, our family and our homes."
More sessions this week
Tuesday's meeting set for 6:30 p.m. at the WFCU Centre in Windsor.
The third session takes place Wednesday night at Vollmer Centre in LaSalle and the final one is set for Thursday at Lakeside Park in Kingsville.