Soldiers help protect Pembroke water supply from Ottawa River ahead of expected rain

PEMBROKE, Ont. — Soldiers from a Canadian base in Petawawa were deployed Saturday to protect infrastructure in the nearby city of Pembroke, Ont. — one of several communities threatened by historically high water levels on the Ottawa River.

Major Adam Graham said one of the first priority assignments for his unit, which numbered about 64, was protecting the water treatment plant near the river’s edge.

“So we’ve dispatched some soldiers down to that location to help conduct flood mitigation measures, such as primarily sandbagging certain elements of that facility to ensure that there’s no issues with the town’s water supply as a result of flooding,” Graham said in a phone interview.

Soldiers were later assigned to assist provincial crews with the construction of a sandbag wall at a partially flooded waterside park, downstream from the water purification plant.

The city declared a state of emergency on Thursday and followed that with requests for assistance from Canada’s military and from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Heather Salovaara, the community’s emergency information officer, said the ministry sent 21 people in four crews in addition whose work was co-ordinated with the soldiers from Petawawa.

Pembroke itself has a population of 16,200 but an estimated 75,500 people living within a 40 kilometre radius depend on the city as a service centre.

Graham said it will be community officials that decide on what tasks are given to his soldiers as conditions change.

Salovaara said in an email that the community is expecting rain next week and will monitor water level predictions from the Ottawa River Regulating Committee.

“They take into account a number of things, such as open dams, rainfall, snow melt north of us, and more,” Salovaara said in an email.

Other communities in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada have already been affected by spring flooding during recent weeks due to rain and melting snows.

As it turned out, Pembroke experienced sunny, warm weather on Saturday.

“It’s perfect weather for flood mitigation,” Graham said Saturday afternoon with a laugh.

However, additional rain could raise already high water levels on the Ottawa River, which flows past Pembroke, Ottawa and other communities on its way towards the Island of Montreal, about 350 kilometres southeast of Pembroke.

“We’re going to assess the requirements of the city, in concert with … emergency management officials and we’ll take it day by day,” Graham said.

Just Posted

WATCH: Cars, airplanes, motorcyles on display at Red Deer Airport

Cars, motorcycle and airplane enthusiasts united at the Red Deer Airport Sunday… Continue reading

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — Crews battling an enormous wildfire just outside the… Continue reading

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

OTTAWA — While most Canadians firmly back the Charter of Rights and… Continue reading

Red Deer stamp-collecting event a hit, local club expected to start in fall

Postage stamp-loving Red Deerians can expect to have a place to gather… Continue reading

Red Deer woman one of three arrested by Sundre RCMP

The 19-year-old had numerous arrest warrants out of various jurisdictions

WATCH: Sunnybrook Farm Museum in Red Deer welcomes spring

Sunnybrook Farm Museum is celebrating spring in Red Deer. On Saturday, the… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Bid to get D-Day beaches added to list of UN World Heritage Sites in limbo

OTTAWA — The beaches of Normandy, where the Allies stormed ashore to… Continue reading

Could this 20-year-old Montreal polyglot be Canada’s most multilingual student?

MONTREAL — Georges Awaad answers the phone with a polite “Hello,” but… Continue reading

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have laid out their proposal for rules… Continue reading

Trump’s trophy day of sumo, golf and cheeseburgers in Japan

TOKYO — President Donald Trump presented a special U.S.-made trophy to the… Continue reading

Two dead, one seriously injured, following explosion in Calgary home’s garage

CALGARY — Police in Calgary say they believe a house fire where… Continue reading

Raptors fans spill onto the streets ahead of potentially historic game

Cars honked, exhilarated fans chanted and long lines formed outside bars and… Continue reading

Most Read