Damages observable as flood waters recede

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

A recent assessment of flooded public infrastructure has revealed the need for some repairs.

Travis Rob, manager of operations and facilities for the town noted some areas of erosion where water levels have dropped.

“Not surprisingly, we’re seeing some areas where we have some subsiding of the ground,” Rob said. “That’s related to just the natural washing away of soil or underlying material. Some of it is due to failed infrastructure.”

Despite some damage, Rob says he feels OK about what he’s seen so far.

“Overall, I’m pretty positive,” he said. “From what we’re seeing, it’s a good start. We’ve got a long ways for the water to go yet before we’re going to truly know.”

While flooding over Front Street and the Sorting Gap Marina has receded enough for pavement to show, high water is still impacting infrastructure along the shore.

“The water is off the road, but it’s only just barely off the road,” he added. “So once the water removes itself from the granular material that’s underneath the road, we may still see other areas where we have sinkholes happening or localized failure.”

Although concrete barriers and sandbags are being removed, the street and river walk are not officially open at this time.

Assessment will continue as the town prepares for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship; the tournament committee announced Saturday that the tournament will go ahead. The primary location for the fishing tournament is along Front St. and the Sorting Gap Marina which experienced heavy flooding.

“I think in terms of infrastructure we do have one area that in the neighbourhood of the tent that we’re watching very closely,” Rob said. “Unfortunately we would love to be able to do a repair pre-tournament, but the water level is still so high we just can’t feasibly work in there right now, so we’re going to do what we can to make sure that it’s safe during the tournament.”

As for other infrastructure, Rob said the docks and launch ramp seem to have held up well under the circumstances, though the wake along the shoreline won’t be ideal.

The Front Street boat launch is emerging, as flood waters begin to recede. Public Works has begun to assess needed repairs to the waterfront. Erosion has been evident, and more damage will likely present itself throughout the summer. With the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship moving forward as planned this month, staff will be diligently monitoring for public safety on flood-impacted infrastructure. – Allan Bradbury photo

“The Sorting Gap docks, the ramp and things like that are all looking good so far,” he said. “I’m not super excited about the additional boat wake that’s going to be along the shorelines, but that’s going to be everywhere in the lake, not just impacting us.”

Other questions have arisen around the disposal of sandbags as waters return to normal levels. Rob wants to encourage residents to dispose of sandbags properly; sandbags which came into contact with floodwaters are considered contaminated.

“We’re going to start to accept them back at Public Works,” Rob said of the sandbags given to Fort Frances residents. “It’s important that we receive them back as they’re considered contaminated material. They’re not to be used for fill or for sandboxes or anything like that. In 2014, we did give sandbags to whoever wanted them at the end of the flood but the Ministry of the Environment informed us that that is not appropriate disposal, that it is to be considered contaminated material and has to be treated and disposed of as such.”

They will be accepted back at Public Works, for proper disposal.

“We’re a long ways away from being done with the impacts of the flooding,” Rob said. “But from what we can see so far, things are looking as good as I could have hoped.”