Flood of criticism for Commission

Dear editor,

After rereading the Fort Frances Times interview with the (IJC) international joint commission people on June 15th, I found their answers extremely infuriating. When I hear statements like the headline ”little could be done to avoid the flooding”, “opening the gates at the dam earlier in the year would not have helped” and “All the modelling that’s been done over the years after every (flooding) event shows starting much lower or opening gates faster doesn’t really have an effect”. With an attitude like that, I feel these people are the absolute wrong people to be in charge. The word “modelling” sounds sophisticated but controlling water levels isn’t rocket science. When you have near record snow fall, you target the very, very bottom of the rule curve. If you have a record snow fall, being unprecedented, you then go well below the bottom of the rule curve. The Namikan Lake rule curve adds clarity www.lwcb.ca/waterflowdata.html. They could have targeted Namikan more than two feet lower at the beginning of March and still be in the rule curve. If you don’t target the bottom of the rule curve when you have high snow fall and therefore a very high runoff season, when do you? EVERY INCH MATTERS and every step should be taken to mitigate a catastrophe. “DeWolfe also says the high flood risk curve the committee works from is in a range. Around the middle of April, the water levels seemed to be well outside that range- about eight inches (roughly 20 cm) below the middle of the range.” This sounds like a child with little experience and little foresight. If their “modelling” could not predict a flood let alone an all time record flood before the runoff season, then their “modelling” is flawed or they have no idea how to read it.

“A group from the IJC toured the region last week, even going as far north as Red Lake to see the flood issues there.” I have no problem with them saying the perks of the job is having an all expense paid trip, but to say we will investigate the water levels up to 400 km from the border seems unnecessarily evasive or even deceitful and leaves me with even less confidence in their integrity. Another pet peeve I have is it appears that they will not open all 15 waste gates until after we are in flood conditions. To me a flood is a by definition a catastrophic event. In the future I would love to hear that we opened all 15 gates, we couldn’t prevent high water but we did prevent a flood and will be back in the rule curve shortly. In conclusion, after the fact it is too late, conscientious Stewards should anticipate and act early to prevent or at least mitigate catastrophic events and according to the rule curve, it seems to me the Stewards did not.

Don Zucchiatti