Julie Ann Bertram
Special to the Tribune
The Sturgeon River south of the Temagami flooded its banks last week, leaving some River Valley and Field residents scrambling to save their boats, docks, and other structures from floating away. Homes and trailers along the river were flooded and Leduc Road remained closed at press time this week.
In Field, water was flowing over Highway 64 for a few days, forcing some people with smaller cars to figure out detours. Longtime resident Mario Rousseau, who bought the Riverview Market in 2001, said that was the last time he’d seen it flood as much.
Julie Langevin and Mike Truchon recently bought a property along the river in Field and have a lot of unexpected work to do. “We have lots of damage but it’s fixable because both of us are determined to put it back the way it was. We have to wait for it to dry up before doing any work, clean up all garbage and wood that came to our property and all the sand on our grass. It sure will delay our camping this year. We usually are set up the first weekend of May and only able to work on the property on the weekends, we might not start camping until mid-June. But I’m happy in a way because we’ve been camping on the river and planning to raise the property, at least next year we will have an idea of how high we want to raise it. I don’t understand exactly why it’s happening every 5 years but what I know is how they control the dams of Temagami, Crystal Falls and Sturgeon, there’s a lot of politics involved in saving high end places on French River and Lake Nipissing.”
In 1979, Field was devastated by massive flooding, prompting better monitoring and coordination of dam systems since.
The MNR issued a release on Monday, May 8. “Residents in the Sturgeon River Watershed should keep a close watch on conditions and exercise caution around rivers, streams and low-lying areas. Please alert and monitor any children under your care to possible dangers and supervise their activities. (…) Municipalities and residents, especially those in low-lying areas and along shorelines, are encouraged to monitor these conditions and prepare accordingly. Shorelines and banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery and unstable at this time and, when combined with cold open water, pose a serious hazard.”
Fortunately, over the past few days, the water has been receding and it is hoped that the worst is behind us, as residents now work to recover lost docks and fix up their properties. “The current high-pressure system provided warm and dry conditions over the weekend and these conditions are expected to continue throughout the week which will allow local inflows to decline. High water levels that impacted roads last week have decreased,” confirmed the MNR.