Residents of Smiths Falls are advised to stay clear of the swollen Rideau River following the recent heavy rainfall and flood warnings.
“There is a large volume of very rapidly moving water going through town and the best thing is to stay away from it,” advised town Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris during a May 8 meeting of Smiths Falls council’s Committee of the Whole.
Director of Community Services Art Manhire noted that the recent flow rate of water has been 175 cubic metres per second, “which is the equivalent of almost an Olympic swimming pool per second.”
Morris said staff have been monitoring water levels in town on a regular basis and believe the peak point of the flooding risk has passed.
“Excessive rainfall created some issues for Parks Canada to deal with,” Morris said. “Our focal point has been protection of municipal assets and infrastructure.”
Town staff expect to have to repair some damage, including at Turtle Island, which has been largely submerged.
Staff had considered sandbagging certain areas to keep rising water at bay, but water levels have begun to recede. “We think we’re in pretty good shape,” Morris said.
Manhire report that the town’s bridges are still holding up. “They will sustain the forces being applied to them at this point.”