Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sandbag removal in works

With water levels on Rainy Lake and the upper Rainy River continuing to drop, the town is starting to go into “recovery mode,” including removing sandbags along the waterfront.
While levels still are above the International Joint Commission’s rule curve, in the week since the Emergency Control Group’s meeting last Monday, Rainy Lake has dropped 5.5 inches while the upper river is down 7.5 inches.

“We’re certainly in a position where we’re looking at the water level still receding,” Fort Frances Fire Chief Frank Sheppard said after this morning’s meeting of the ECG.
“All indicators right now is that we’re going to have good weather over the next couple of weeks and we shouldn’t really be in a position where there’s any further risk to the town,” he noted.
With Mayor Roy Avis’ consent, the group agreed to go into “recovery mode,” which will include the removal and disposal of sandbags.
“Right now, we’ve been tasked with putting together a plan on how we do this to satisfy the needs of the residents and appropriately dispose of the materials so that there’s no risk, environmental or to people,” said Chief Sheppard.
Details of how the town will go about getting rid of the sandbags will be released by tomorrow, but it is known that the public will be given the opportunity to take sandbags if they want them.
Couchiching First Nation already has begun to remove sandbags, reported Patrick Briere, public information officer for the Town of Fort Frances.
They will be stored at the Heron Landing Golf Course.
Meanwhile, in response to some questions from the public, the ECG is sending out the message that lakefront residents are responsible for cleaning up debris that washed ashore on their properties.
“There’s no question, lakewide, that there’s a tremendous amount of debris out there,” Chief Sheppard said.
“And from all indications, if something’s washing up in your area, it will be consistent with what’s happened in the past—the homeowner or the owner of that property would be expected to clean up the material. . . .
“Really, that was the rationale for us removing the dock at Point Park,” Chief Sheppard added.
“As the owner, we had the responsibility to remove the material and did follow through with that.”
With the situation under control, this morning’s meeting of the ECG was its last until further notice.
The group is expected to meet and debrief at some point down the road.

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