Message from the Mayor and Council - Laurentian Valley Flooding Event Response Service Level Policy

Dear Laurentian Valley Resident/Property Owner:

Re:     Notification Regarding Township of Laurentian Valley Flooding Event Response Service Level Policy

This message is to advise that Council of the Township of Laurentian Valley has adopted a Flooding Event Response Service Level Policy which we wish to specifically communicate to all residents that have the potential to be impacted by flooding events.  It was with careful consideration of the impacts that the events in both 2019 and 2017 had on Township resources from both a financial and a staffing perspective that Council has decided it is necessary to adopt the Flooding Event Response Service Level Policy that has been posted to the Township website.

By establishing a Township Flooding Event Response Level of Service, staff and residents can better prepare for the future by knowing what to expect should high water levels occur again.  We seem to be experiencing more of these events and at some levels flooding cannot always be considered an emergency.  Emergency Response Staff should only be utilized in the event of a catastrophic occurrence that is life threatening. Preparedness is one of the best mitigation effort we can employ along with ensuring compliance with the best available flood plain information for development along water bodies.

The 2019 event had a profound impact on our team from a mental and physical perspective, as well as the financial impact that our Municipality has felt.  The 2019 MDRA claim filed by the Township was $ 1,000,128.61 and we are still awaiting notification of what part of this claim will be covered but at best the Township share of these costs would still be $78,101.26.  There is no guarantee that in the future any additional claim would be covered as costs in 2017 did not meet the Provincial threshold and were fully borne by Township ratepayers.

It is important to stress that the LV Fire Department cannot be used as the manpower for flood protection.  The LV Fire Department did respond to several incidents during the 2019 event and we were fortunate that we maintained service during this event and did not have a major incident. This speaks to the level of commitment of our staff. This use of the Fire Department forces increases the potential that in the event of a large fire or emergency our crew would not be physically able to adequately respond.  There is also an impact on our local employers when they leave their regular jobs.  For these reasons it is essential that their role in a flood event is clearly understood by all.

Level of Service and Expectations

The level of service that is provided by our Municipality is determined by Council. The level of service provided in 2019 is not sustainable from a manpower and financial perspective.  There is also no guarantee that we would be able to access the provincial and federal manpower that we did in the past for a future event.  This year the manpower issue is further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Council and Staff felt it was important to formulate a response level to manage expectations and assist in your preparedness efforts.

At the time of writing of this letter, the flood outlook for this year was looking hopeful.  I urge all residents to keep themselves apprised of information about flooding on the Township website at  where any Watershed Condition Statements, Flood Warnings and Flood Watches issued by MNRF will be posted and other flooding information, best practices and links to information are provided.

For those on the Ottawa River, both the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board (1-800-778-1246) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG)  (1-888-884-8022), continue to make improvements to how information is delivered including website improvements and you should check their websites regularly during the Spring Freshet period to keep yourself updated and prepared.

Rest assured the Township remains working hard on behalf of our ratepayers to keep them safe but we need to ensure that a sustainable and reasonable level of service is put into place so that ratepayers can prepare themselves accordingly.

Stay safe and healthy.

Yours sincerely,

Mayor Steve Bennett and Council of the Township of Laurentian Valley