Windsor

Homeowners demand action as provincial team inspects Lake Erie flood damage

The team from the ministry of municipal affairs and housing along with representatives from the Essex Region Conservation Authority went door to door in the Marentette Beach and Cotterie Park areas. Ministry officials will be compiling a report for Minster Bill Mauro.

'They got to do something here. I can't live like this,' said Jerry Westfall, resident

Jerry Westfall's home along the shoreline in Leamington was severely damaged by the storm on Sunday, April 15, 2018. High winds and strong waves broke his break wall. A tree uprooted and landed on his house. (Jason Viau/CBC)

The Provincial Disaster Assistance Team spent Monday combing through flood ravaged areas in Leamington assessing the damage from last week's storm.

The team from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing along with representatives from the Essex Region Conservation Authority went door-to-door in the Marentette Beach and Cotterie Park areas.

According to ministry officials, the team will be compiling a report for Minster Bill Mauro. Once the report is assessed, the Minster will decide whether to activate the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontario program.

"They got to do something here. I can't live like this... look around my house my yard I had six inches of sand in my house and I can't get anybody here other than my friends to help me do anything," said Jerry Westfall, resident of Marentette Beach who had his house destroyed by a strong waves.

Westfall had a tree tumble on his house last Sunday. The tree has since been removed but a order notice prohibiting the use of occupancy remains on the house.

Jerry Westfall has received an order notice prohibiting the use of occupancy on his house. (Melissa Nakhavoly/CBC)

"I have a big mortgage on this house. I have to pay it off. So I'll be paying for something for the rest of my life and probably my kids life that I don't even possess anymore," explained Westfall.

According to ERCA, at least 6 of the homes are uninhabitable within the hardest hit areas in Marentette Beach. Those homes received the same notices as Westfall.

Westfall, who's home experienced extreme breakwall damage, sits only a couple metres away from the water. His wish list for provincial officials is to, at the minimum, help with restoring the breakwall.

"We have to fix the frontage here. It's probably going to cost 60 to 70 thousand dollars and I don't have it," said Westfall.

Other houses next to Westfall also require break wall repair. Many neighbours also hoping to have assistance from the provinces before the situation gets worse. 

Protection is what we need.- Larry Greco, Marentette  Beach Association 

"When these waves come flying over these walls here there's no stopping it and protection is what we need," said Larry Greco, Marentette Beach Association vice president.

Officials with ERCA said the main priority for residents should be restoring their shoreline protection as it is the home owner's responsibility to get the breakwalls to a standard which is laid out by ERCA. 

"Emergency repair measures, get those in and get those done now. And we will deal with issues on permits and regulatory standards following," said Tim Bryne, ERCA director of watershed management services.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs office say it's too early to determine if the affected municipalities will receive any disaster relief funding from the province.

About the Author

Melissa Nakhavoly is a journalist with CBC Windsor News.