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Beach Street Wellington closed

UPDATE JUNE 11 – Due to elevated water levels and high winds, Beach Street in Wellington is closed to all but local traffic.

The bulk water hauling station on Beach Street is also closed. Large volume haulers can use the Picton bulk water hauling station at 15 MacSteven Drive. Those with smaller volume hauling needs can continue to access the coin-operated stations located at the Wellington and District Community Centre (111 Belleville Street) and the Picton bulk station.

JUNE 8 UPDATE: Beach Street in Wellington has re-opened, and access to the bulk water filling station has been restored. However, the boat launch will remain closed due to the high water levels.

Portion of North Big Island Road closed June 6

UPDATE June 5 – Due to shoreline work, North Big Island Road will be closed on Thursday, June 6 between Allison Road and 814 Big Island Road.

The closure will take place between the hours of 7 am and 4:30 pm.
Local residents living along this section of road will continue to have access to their homes by travelling west on North Big Island Road to civic address #760.

Allison Road will remain open. Signs are in place to alert motorists.

Beach Street Wellington closed; roads monitored as County continues flood watch

Winns Drive at West Lake has a sign warning of water crossing the road. Straw bales and gravel will be added to help keep at least one lane of the road open for residents in the area.

JUNE 3 – With more wind and rain in the forecast, the municipality is taking action as water levels are expected to continue to rise over the next few weeks.

Water levels on Lake Ontario have reached record levels set in 2017’s flooding. The levels are influenced by uncontrolled, above average outflows from Lake Erie, local rainfall and runoff throughout the Lake Ontario watershed, and reduced Lake Ontario outflows, in order to balance flooding impacts on the St. Lawrence River.

At a meeting of the Municipal Control Group Monday morning, Acting CAO Robert McAuley stated Beach Street in Wellington is closed to all traffic and work will be done at Winn’s Drive at West Lake and Wesley Acres Road in Bloomfield to help keep water from covering both lanes of the road. Those roads are the only access in, and out, for residents. The bulk water hauling station on Beach Street is closed as well. Large volume haulers can use the Picton bulk water hauling station located at 15 MacSteven Drive.

UPDATE: Due to shoreline erosion caused by high water levels and strong winds, County Road 12 between Hyatt Lane and the Woodland camping area is temporarily closed. Local traffic will be permitted for area residents only.  A detour route is available via County Road 18 at West Lake and County Road 12 at the entrance to Sandbanks Provincial Park.  Electronic signs are in place to alert motorists.

Wellington Beach has little beach left, or roadway, as of Monday morning. – John Ferguson photo

The municipality is also keeping watch on two locations on County Road 28, the Big Island causeway, North Big Island Road as steps may need to be taken. Hiscock Shores, Massassauga and Smoke’s Point roads are also being observed.

Those roads were flooded in 2017, he said, so the County was prepared and has been watching them for the past few weeks.

Signs are posted on the affected roads. Straw bales and gravel will be placed along the shoulders to at least maintain one passable lane of traffic.

“The County’s main objective is to keep at least one lane of traffic open on all roads,” he said. “Operational staff were instructed this morning to begin our contingency plan of building up the roads in these areas of most concern.”

While the water has receded somewhat at Picton’s Yacht Club, it still covers all of the docks and much of the parking lot. A club member stated Monday there was no parking lot, and those attending functions last week had to wear rubber boots to get inside the Yacht Club.

High water levels have also impacted six County’s boat launches and others have restricted access.

McAuley said boaters are requested to observe a ‘no wake’ policy to avoid further shoreline damage.

The municipality has been helping residents with concerns about septic systems, cisterns and wells and directing them to the Hastings Prince Edward Health Unit for further information.

Mayor Steve Ferguson stated the County will not be declaring a ‘state of emergency’ as it did in 2017 as it provides no advantage, and learning from 2017, can create problems.

Also, said McAuley, the tests to declare an emergency (act faster, move regulatory hurdles or make broad use of volunteers) have not been met.

Docks along the shore at East Lake are under water.

The County experienced negative outcomes to its businesses and tourism as the state of emergency flooding message spread in 2017.

“If visitors stay away because of the perception, as they did in 2017, it affects employment, suppliers and creates a significant trickle down,” said Ferguson.

McAuley stated the only other funding potential source of funding is through the Ontario Disaster Relief Program “but the threshold of three per cent of our income is high – well over $1 million – and we’re not looking at spending that much. We didn’t in 2017 and we received no funding so there’s no financial advantage.”

“Two years ago, the water levels rose much more quickly. This year, we have had more time to prepare and we have drawn on the lessons learned from 2017 to develop our response,” Ferguson said. “We are confident that we can deliver all municipal services without setting aside policies and procedures as allowed when an emergency is declared.

Water is also coming up on homes in the South Bay area.

“This is a very challenging time for all of our residents. We understand and share residents’ concerns and frustrations. We will remain vigilant and moderate conditions with the help of Quinte Conservation and make preparations accordingly and encourage residents living in low lying flood areas to do the same.”

Quinte Conservation’s Christine Philibert  noted Quinte Conservation regulates development along shorelines and staff are available to do site visits to look at options for protection into the future.

“Following 2017 there were over 100 permits issued for shore protection measures and we are currently following up with those people to see how effective that was in current conditions.”

The outlook for this year’s tourism season remains optimistic, said Ferguson.

“People are certainly frustrated, but they’re also realistic in understanding that there is very little we can do. We have done as much as we can pro-actively by making sand and sandbags available, looking at road conditions and anticipating what can happen and sharing information as quickly, and broadly as we can so people can prepare themselves.”

Fire Chief and Community Emergency Management Co-ordinator Scott Manlow, Quinte Conservation representative Christine Philibert, Mayor Steve Ferguson and Acting CAO Robert McAuley met with the media Monday morning.

The municipality is offering sand and sandbags at no cost to residents whose primary residence is at risk of flooding. Sandbags are not intended to protect shorelines or accessory buildings. The municipality asks that residents be respectful of their neighbours when picking up supplies and only sandbag if their home is at risk of flooding.

The sandbags are self-serve, and residents must bring their own shovels to fill bags. Residents must fill out the number of sandbags they have picked up and the civic address where they will be used.

Sand and sandbags are located at:
Waupoos Community Centre, 2699 County Road 8 in North Marysburgh
South Marysburgh Fire Hall, 3076 County Road 10
Hiscock Shores Road cul-de-sac in Ameliasburgh
Sunrise Drive cul-de-sac in Ameliasburgh
35 County Road 14 in Sophiasburgh
15 Coleman Street in Ameliasburgh
75 County Road 1 in Hallowell (Sandy Hook Dome)
Wellington and District Community Centre, 111 Belleville Street in Wellington
Mariners’ Park Museum (Intersection of County Road 10 and County Road 13)
21651 Loyalist Parkway in Carrying Place
Consecon Fire Station (14 County Road 29)
Bay Bridge Jeans parking lot (5567 Highway 62)

Read more about building a safe sandbag wall or watch this video:

For residents physically unable to fill their own sandbags, The County is offering a limited number of bags that were pre-filled by students at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute that can be picked-up at the soccer field parking lot across from the school, on Johnson Street.

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