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Rain, Rain gone away?

Steve Campbell

There is no more popular topic of conversation in the County than the weather. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, just right, but too windy, just perfect, but too humid … I swear there’s only one day each year in which the weather is perfect for everyone. Then we switch to talking politics.

We had good reason this spring (and last summer for that matter) as “Water: Got it/don’t got it” was a going concern for businesses, farmers and homeowners here in the County. It’s like there was a giant water tank in the sky last summer storing all the rain up, so it could dump it all on us this year.
We’ve seen some wild rain action (News Flash for those of you who don’t have windows!) so far. I have a theory that we always get the same amount of precipitation in any given year, it’s just distributed poorly. Not a lot of snow this winter, following the summer drought, followed by torrential downpours and flooding. Does this mean a wet summer? I checked with meteorological experts, who analyze trends in weather patterns, and they all agree: “Your theory is total BS.” So we’re safe for now. Mind you, the professional weather watchers can’t predict past noon, so I may yet be vindicated.

I’ve been all over the County delivering Breakaway magazine, and I’ve seen some pretty heart-wrenching troubles from north to south. Hard to imagine that last summer people were buying big fibreglass cubes to truck water to their homes and farms. Now they can milk their cows as they go floating by. They could now use the cubes to remove unwanted water … but where do you send it? You could buy a mansion in Arizona for what Canada Post would charge you to send a cube of water to the Sahara, where it would probably be welcome!

The creek which flows underneath Wellington’s Main Street – the subject of minor concern to everyone – was teeming like the Ottawa River rapids run. If I’d had a paddleboard, standing at Cribs on the Creek on Wharf Street, I could have had an exciting 30-second trip to the lake. I would likely be headless at the end, but it would be fun for a while.
A villager told me that the creek on the lake end, which had been redirected by the Drake Devonshire, resumed its normal path – in nature’s way – under the duress of the water onslaught. When I checked that out, the waves were launching over 10 feet in the air on the breakwall at the shoreline. Sometimes Mother Nature is not all about flowers and bunnies.

I have to say that Council acted pretty fast on their feet in this crisis. They no sooner slammed shut the Big Book O’ Barge Sinkings, than they whipped open the Beginner’s Guide to Too Much Freakin’ Water.
I’m not trying to be obsequious, but the Mayor, Council and our staff were on this like flies on whatever flies land on. Regular reports in newspapers and County FM, sandbag stations, emergency procedures … added to the generous volunteer work of friends and neighbours to protect their lowlands and shorelines. This is the County at its best.

And drones mapping our shoreline! How cool is that?! I’ll bet the County workers were lined right up for that job. Hope we get to keep the drones, as it would certainly attract young people to County jobs: “Dive! Dive! Jump! Fire Missiles!” They have the thumbs for it.
I was actually planning to build an Ark, which I could probably sell, after the rain stopped, to someone from Toronto for $1.5 million, which seems to be the going rate for real estate in the County these days.
Trouble is, I turned to the guide book – the Old Testament – but I couldn’t figure out what a ‘cubit’ was. If it turned out to be an inch, according to the plan, I would only end up with a dingy (probably only sellable for $500K) but if it were 25 feet, I could probably load up animals two-by-two. (Note: No coyotes, groundhogs, raccoons or squirrels allowed.)

Interesting to hear Terry Murphy of Quinte Conservation lightheartedly telling us that all that water that fell up north – it’s headed for us. Lake levels will continue to rise, in case you were having trouble staying awake at night.
A friend in Cornwall reported that the dam there is holding water back on the St. Lawrence – the clearing house for the Great Lakes – and pressure is on to open it up and drain the excess. Trouble is, Montreal is in worse shape than us, so they let out a big scream of dismay.

So we’re all in this together. Too bad we can’t store it up for future droughts (get your fibreglass cubes out!) but we’re just going to have to tough it through. On the good side, it’s not even really warm yet, and the bugs are already out! Should be a great mosquito year! Forget the flyswatters, buy a shotgun! They’ll be the size of starlings (also not allowed on the Ark … they’re just rats with wings. Oh! no rats either).

On Another Water Vein
I had a customer in who asked: “What’s the deal with construction at the creek on Highway 62 at Huiskamp’s Farm? It’s been going on forever!”
I was ready with an answer: “I don’t know.”
You see, the thing is, there’s piles of building materials all over the place, gravel and concrete and some things on skids I don’t recognize, and I think a porta-potty, and a string of concrete dividers, and two stoplights, and signs that warn us about the stoplights. What’s missing from this picture? PEOPLE!
Where are the workers? Did they get bored and go home? I’ve talked to dozens of people who have never spotted an actual construction worker on site, though I confess I once saw a guy with a fluorescent vest mosey across the road.

I think the Hoover Dam was built in less time than this – and it has a power generating turbine in it! Since I had lots of idle time waiting for the light to change, I looked into the creek. Looks to me like – it’s a creek! Not a “Yahoo Let’s Go Surfing” creek like they have in Wellington, just a kind of Mississippi Ol’ Man Creek that meanders along at about the same pace as the construction company.
We’ll weather through the construction (and the weather) and there will be many stories to tell. I’m already scripting my ‘Old Man’ stories for my grandkids: “Hey, put down your drone controls for a minute … let me tell you a story about The Floods of 2017!”

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Jason says:

    They aren’t allowed to work on the culvert until the spring runoff is done…a bit of a long process this year.

  2. Emily says:

    The construction at the creek on Hwy 62 is halted by the Ministry during the spring spawning period.

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