Windsor

'Every little bit adds to the damage': LaSalle police advising boaters to 'mind their wake'

The LaSalle Police Service is reminding residents to "mind their wake" as homeowners along the town's shoreline experience some of the worst flooding in recent memory.

'There's people who live here ... their houses are under water'

RIDE-ALONG: The LaSalle Police Service is reminding residents to "mind their wake" as homeowners along the town's shoreline experience some of the worst flooding in recent memory. 0:40

The LaSalle Police Service is reminding residents to "mind their wake" as homeowners along the town's shoreline experience some of the worst flooding in recent memory.

Last Friday, the City of Windsor announced boats on the Detroit River are banned from travelling within 30 metres of the Canadian shoreline.

But in LaSalle, water rules are the same as they always have been in the town — that boats are limited to a speed of 10 km/h within 30 metres of the shoreline.

Const. Terry Seguin took CBC News on a ride-along to see homes on the shorelines which have been hardest by flooding. 

"There was a road here, there was someone's side yard here," said Seguin. "There's a huge cost involved here with this."

Sequin said the water has risen so high in LaSalle that catch basins are starting to overflow.

Flooding has left some LaSalle homeowners along the Detroit River shoreline unable to use their garages. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Enforcement of a no-wake zone isn't easy

"If we see a vessel we'd like to stop, if they're violating the speed limit, we have our lights and siren," said Seguin. "We ask them to stop controlling their vessel completely."

The marine unit would come alongside the stopped vehicle and check for a boater safety card and safety equipment. If there are charges under the Canada Shipping Act, it's a federal offense.

Constable Terry Seguin says boaters need to show compassion for their fellow residents by keeping their boat speed down. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

"The end result is very similar, but the fines tend to be quite substantial," said Seguin. "You can get yourself in a pretty dangerous situation here in the water where there's no help."

No help for boaters — but also no help for the officers conducting the stop. 

"It's just me and my partner," said Seguin. 

Compassion, consideration mean boaters should slow down

"If you take into consideration what we're facing right now and anybody who has any kind of compassion and understanding, it wouldn't take a second thought to say, 'Hey, you know what? I'm not going to go ripping up the shoreline, causing erosion," said Seguin.

According to Sequin, at 10 km/h, there's a "tremendous" amount of wake.

"Knowing the situation, I would never drive 10 kilometres an hour. I would never do that to these people," said Seguin. "There's people who live here ... their houses are under water. It's easy when we're so far removed from it, but what's going to happen with these people's homes?"

Marinas are flooded, limiting options for boaters to dock. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

If boaters really feel the need for speed, Seguin said they should head to the west side of Grassy Island, where there's no speed regulations — but close to land, he encouraged boaters to think about their actions.

"It's like making a sand castle at the beach. One wave — half the castle's gone," said Seguin. "What do you think's happening to our land? We're losing it. We're losing our waterfront and it's eroding farther and farther back."

Flood waters have risen into this Willow Drive backyard, completely surrounding this pool. The photo on the right shows what the property normally looks like. (Sanjay Maru/CBC, Google Maps)

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