East Windsor overland flooding woes spark federal grant application
Published Tuesday, October 8, 2019 5:27PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 8, 2019 6:52PM EDT
WINDSOR -- Historically high water levels have dropped a foot since they peaked in Lake St. Clair this summer, providing the City of Windsor with a wake-up call.
Now, the city is eager to get out in front of the problem, especially in flood-prone east Windsor.
A report to council Monday night detailed what could happen to a six-kilometre stretch of east Windsor in the event of a massive flood and storm while painting a picture of what things could be like 30 years down the road.
The existing dike system along the riverfront east of Little River is sufficient, but even now, west of Little River, Landmark Engineering believes the dike is only 32 per cent adequate. Water levels are expected to rise another 30 centimetres by 2050.
"The adequacy of the existing dike goes down to 42 per cent and 12 per cent west of Little River," says Dave Killen, the report author from Landmark Engineering Inc.
But that's not the only problem.
Killen's report to the city outlined catch basins and sewers are connected on either side of the dike. If water comes in from Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River – and is retained on Riverside Drive -- it could surcharge the catch basins and flood the sewer system.
"And actually flood the inland areas through the sewer system by bypassing the dyke," Killen adds. "If we had a one in 100 year flood with a one in 100 year wind, yeah, we're going to have some serious issues."
Council isn’t going to let the report gather dust.
"Anytime you see a map like that it is a cause for concerns, but it's also a cause for action," Mayor Drew Dilkens quipped after the meeting.
The actions in the report recommend raising the berms to exceed projected high water levels, inserting automated mechanical gates in the storm sewers and potentially raising Riverside Drive.
It’s expected to cost roughly $18.7 million and take 10 years to fully implement.
But the city has already taken data from this report and submitted another application to the federal Disaster Mitigation Adaptation Fund, and is confident it will get a third of the cost covered.
"We've been as successful if not more than any other community in Ontario, if not Canada in leveraging our dollars to be able to attack this problem," city engineer Mark Winterton tells CTV Windsor.
No plan has been approved yet, but Winterton says some of the quicker fixes will likely be discussed in Windsor’s 2020 capital budget deliberations. He’s hopeful the feds will have doled out funding by then.