Rideau Lakes looks to alleviate flooding issues in Delta with funds from province

Upper Beverley Lake in Delta frequently floods in the spring and a feasibility study will help alleviate the issue. – Laurie Weir photo

During high water flooding, it wouldn’t be odd to see a kayaker in Delta – on the street.

Work on the Delta berm is on the agenda for the Township of Rideau Lakes, with help from the provincial government on a feasibility study.

The village’s flooding problem has been a topic of conversation for several years, prompting a flood of emails and calls to Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark’s office.

Now, a feasibility study will investigate ways to alleviate the flooding issue with help from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).

Delta’s Kurtis Daye, took to the streets during a time when high water flooded the area nearly 10 years ago. – Tina Lloyd Daye/Facebook

Clark was a guest at the municipal services committee meeting on Monday, March 11 to speak about the funding.

“Your very proactive letter as a council last summer worked out very well … the timing of the invitation to speak (March 11), my call to the ministry to tell them that I was speaking, resulting in that overture from the ministry that they’d fund the feasibility study on what to do,” Clark said.

The letter from the township aimed to implement a solution which involves a detailed design and a ditch plug, but they need an easement for occasional flooding on private property. The outer berm also needs attention, the letter stated, as its degradation could lead to water overtopping and continual bypassing of the lake, which the current infrastructure isn’t equipped for.

This issue has become more urgent due to recent nuisance flooding and the realization of the scale of the problem. While temporary measures have been taken, they’re not sustainable, and balancing public interest in flood prevention with private property rights is challenging.

The MNRF is supporting the $40,000 study with funding of $20,000, while the township has budgeted the other half.

The reason that is so important, Clark said, is that 17 years ago both the MNRF and the Cataraqui Conservation Authority felt it was the other agency’s responsibility, “and it left the municipality holding the bag.”

Clark said he is now happy to see both the ministry and the conservation authority are “on the same page and they recognize that this is a challenge for the community if they were to do it alone.”

Clark said he hadn’t yet spoken to the conservation authority but he was hoping they have contacted the township and some of the preliminary conversations have taken place.

Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark was a guest at the municipal services committee meeting in Rideau Lakes Township on Monday, March 11 to speak to funding from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry concerning the Delta berm feasibility study. – Laurie Weir/Screengrab

Clerk Mary Ellen Truelove said the chief administrative officer, Shellee Fournier, has had discussions with both agencies.

“Other conservation authorities have looked at the federal program,” Clark said, for funding help, as South Nation Conservation Authority is applying for federal disaster relief funding, for what he said was a mapping project. Clark said he sent a letter of support.

According to the MNRF, the Delta dam was built in 1962 to maintain water levels in Upper Beverley Lake and support recreational interests. The dam is not a flood control structure, and the ministry operates it by following an approved plan that has been subject to past public review.

“The plan has maintained similar water levels to the previous Delta Mill dam,” the ministry stated in a letter to Rideau Lakes Township last spring.

Villagers have seen high water spill over Highway 43 between Upper and Lower Beverley lakes during the spring. The township has been looking into the issue for at least eight years, Truelove told Brockvilleist.

According to Clark’s office assistant, Marshall Chapman, the MNRF said they will be able to offer more information soon.

The MNRF, Cataraqui Conservation Authority and the Township of Rideau Lakes are working collaboratively to explore options regarding the nuisance high water conditions in Delta, Chapman noted in an emailed response on March 12.

“As an active partner in watershed management, Cataraqui Conservation Authority has agreed to lead a feasibility study to develop a preferred long-term solution to the nuisance high water conditions,” he wrote. “MNRF has a meeting scheduled with Cataraqui Conservation Authority and the Township of Rideau Lakes on March 13, 2024 to discuss the next steps for the feasibility study.”

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