City to declare state of emergency?Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
Senior City of Sault Ste. Marie staff members are considering whether to declare a state of emergency in order to deal with infrastructure damage caused by last week’s heavy rain.
That statement came from Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority Board Chair Brian Watkins after Tuesday’s SSMRCA meeting.
Watkins, who also serves as a Ward Three City Councillor, told SooToday.com: “They are meeting at present and may be looking to do that as quickly as they possibly can.”
As of Tuesday, only six days remained for the City to declare a state of emergency.
A state of emergency must be declared by a municipality within 14 days after an event such as last Monday night’s heavy rain in order to qualify for provincial government funding for repairs to damaged municipal infrastructure.
Last week’s rainfall (which began late Monday September 9 and lasted into the early hours of Tuesday September 10) led to flooding which wreaked havoc on several local roads, causing sinkholes to appear and a CN Rail trestle at the city’s north end to collapse, not to mention considerable flood damage to many homes.
Provincial funding for infrastructure repair will not assist with repair to private homes damaged by flooding, however.
Tim and Annette Wishman of Old Garden River Road are particularly upset with both the City of Sault Ste. Marie and CN in the wake of last week’s event.
The couple appeared at Tuesday’s Conservation Authority Board meeting to express their views.
Speaking to SooToday.com, Tim Wishman said: “We feel it wasn’t a matter of the rain that caused the problem in our neighbourhood, it was the CN trestle letting go that dumped a deluge of water from that point downstream that caused all the damage south of the trestle.”
“We’ve lived there for 12 years and never had water over the banks of the river.”
Annette said: “Someone is at fault. It wasn’t all just nature.”
“I’m sure that trestle was faulty for a while for it to go like that.”
The Wishmans told us they have had two feet of water pumped out of their basement and estimate they will have to spend more than $20,000 on repairs.
Tim Wishman told us four homes near to where he and his wife reside were damaged with “four to five feet” of water on the main floor of each home.
In addition, Annette Wishman said: “My biggest anger is with the City.”
“Someone called 9-1-1 and it was 45 minutes before emergency services came.”
“They didn’t have the Red Cross there, or a place for us to get warm. They had no blankets for kids who had to leave their homes.”
“As a mother I’m angry this City is not prepared,” Wishman said.
“This City’s emergency services failed us.”
Meanwhile, SSMRCA General Manager Rhonda Bateman extended congratulations to Conservation Authority staff for their work during the heavy rainfall.
Bateman told us: “Our Field Supervisor Jamie Eaton and CA Field Staff member Rob Chartrand made sure that our flood channels could move without obstruction.”
The SSMRCA’s main flood channels are Clark Creek, East Davignon, West Davignon, Bennett Creek and Fort Creek.
“We get all kinds of debris thrown in there apart from natural tree debris, like mattresses and tires, and it’s really awful for the flow, it’s a true hazard.”
“Jamie, Rob and Public Works made sure they cleared the channels of debris overnight as the rain fell by scraping the debris out,” Bateman said.
“The damage would have been worse if they hadn’t pulled that debris out of those flood channels.”
Bateman, who recently succeeded Linda Whalen as SSMRCA General Manager, was praised Tuesday by Board Chair Watkins for her management skills during the heavy rain event.
Bateman said areas such as the Fort Creek Conservation Area are back to normal, but urged the public to exercise caution and not slip on wet ground near waterways.
TFinn 9/18/2013 9:21:16 AM Report
WHY are they waiting ??? ...again someone ....everyone asleep at the switch ...city people ....wake the frigg up ....!!
back4more 9/18/2013 9:28:41 AM Report
You purchased a house 12 years ago that is 10ft away from a river...it's too bad this happened, but did you not think this could ever possibly happen?.
sincerely: Flood Insurance
maltese 9/18/2013 9:35:28 AM Report
There was a lot of damage done. I am born & raised here. I have never seen this much devastation. Declare the "state of emergency" - the option is there & I don't recall it ever being used before.
kamen 9/18/2013 9:45:26 AM Report
I say why not declare state of emergency, there is quite a bit of damage done, and we need to prepare the city so that if we get rain like this next year we are ready.
B Boy 9/18/2013 9:47:43 AM Report
I'm a little shocked that this hasn't already been done. Why is it only now being considered. This is something our elected leadership should have jumped on immediately.
skberry 9/18/2013 9:51:03 AM Report
They are waiting because everything in this city is done BACKWARDS!!!! Just another thing to annoy me about the Sault.........
soowat 9/18/2013 9:58:06 AM Report
If the damage had been at Mayor Deb's house or CEO Joe's instead of Tim and Annette Wishman's there would have been the entire emergency response team there shoveling,pumping and providing other services. A state of emergency would have been declared after 3 raindrops'
BTW words of hope and condolence from our civic leaders were non existent, but words of praise from one public servant to another were plentiful. Mayor Debbie, Where are you?
back4more 9/18/2013 9:58:18 AM Report
I hear ya skberry...nothing annoys me more than some halfwit F@#%tard bashing his own city on a public forum....
soowat 9/18/2013 10:08:28 AM Report
back4more: Or someone using the crutch of profanity because of a limited vocabulary
Nimrod 9/18/2013 10:12:03 AM Report
Yuuup there is a state of emergency in our city. A council that does nothing but spend money on things like a mountain bike park! Kidding right?? Nope.A police department that thinks it should start a crime prevention unit. Kidding right??? Nope. A city board of works that is so far out of control that nothing gets done and costs are thru the roof! They drive hundred thousand dollar vehicles to lunch and cash in vouchers for free lunches! Kidding right?? Nope! And these are the things you can see on a daily basis. Just open your eyes!The family and friends of this corporate welfare can now respond!!
rcssm69 9/18/2013 10:25:16 AM Report
I'm sorry??? Are we cut-off from the rest of the world??? Can we not get food and basic necessities??? Are there lives at stake??? Is the Trans-Canada highway interrupted???
Why do we need to declare the state of emergency again???
Lovethenorth 9/18/2013 10:25:25 AM Report
My heart goes out to Annette and Tim and all the others affected by the extreme rains we had last week. I feel incredibly grateful that we had only a trickle in our basement when so many others were inundated. What's needed here is compassion and support for our fellow Saultites.
back4more 9/18/2013 10:27:47 AM Report
yes soowat...you caught me....but you sure impressed me with your own lack of intelligence by missing the point of my post....
Right Winger 9/18/2013 10:29:19 AM Report
I am fairly certain that if a municipality declares a state of emergency there are some "strings attached" that may affect taxes and future issues. Otherwise, why wouldn't any city declare a state of emergency during any natural occurrence beyond what is normal.
Number One Son 9/18/2013 10:29:24 AM Report
Very true Nimrod,... and the list doesn't end there. I live on the Bennett Creek which also overflowed its banks, and there is nothing that created this other than a lot of rain in a short period of time. Wishmans are just looking for a hand out of our tax dollars to fix their problem. Like one poster said, live by a creek, ... buy flood insurance.
Right Winger 9/18/2013 10:30:58 AM Report
"We feel it wasn’t a matter of the rain that caused the problem in our neighbourhood, it was the CN trestle letting go that dumped a deluge of water from that point downstream that caused all the damage south of the trestle"
Yes Mr. and Mrs Einstein, the trestle let go on its own. It had nothing to do with the inordinate amount of rain we got.
Wicket 9/18/2013 10:31:31 AM Report
It is beyond all comprehension to have to acknowledge that the mayor has been conspicuously missing in action and there has been NO words whatsoever in regards to the devastation from the flooding experienced by so many. Even some words of compassion go a long way, let alone actually doing something constructive to help.
skberry 9/18/2013 10:36:15 AM Report
This is hardly my city!! If I had my way i'd be gone! This city is backwards from everything to tourism, shopping, education and now this?? I moved up here to better my family, and all its done is give them nothing to do and for me to spend more gas going to Sudbury and the states to shop. And yes I realize they have an entire wilderness of activities...but im talking about the city! And honestly they should declare this area a state of emergency....like I said BACKWARDS :p
JediMindTrick 9/18/2013 10:36:50 AM Report
“Someone is at fault. It wasn’t all just nature.”
No, I'm pretty sure all the rain was a natural thing. Uncommon and unfortunate, but a natural phenomenon.
B Boy 9/18/2013 10:43:37 AM Report
Ringer Winger - declaring a state of emergency is common across Ontario in order to access extra funding & programs under the Ontario emergency management & civil protection act. This is legislation in place & used for many years which is managed through regular taxation. Declaring a state of emergency here should have no impact on our municipal taxes.
According to the SSM emergency response plan a request can be made for prov/fed support with no loss of control.
Their plan is an interesting read:
I just did a cursory review and didn't really see what's detail in it acted on, but I don't have the time right now for a full review.
unclmank 9/18/2013 10:53:04 AM Report
Same old story! Looking for someone to BLAME for damage done for an abnormal amount of rainfall! Must be SOMEONES fault! Also, do people really think Emergency Services had nothing else to do that night but serve just THEM? Maybe these people should run some kind of disaster program. They seem to have all the answers! Stop whining and DO something!
wakeup 9/18/2013 11:33:45 AM Report
First of all the trestle has nothing to do with this city, it cn responsibility, an they dont maintain anything worse a crap, check out the rails , so much in disrepair am surprised trains dont rip out the tracks, but because the trains go so slow it doesnt creat that issue, second the lack of this cities maintanence is why so much flooding, storm drains blocked up , same as thestorm before , our street was flood an the basement because the city failed to clean out the main line drain an was even stated by the workers who finally come to clear it, the area down by the old blue boy, when they re done the road, i use to walk down there alost every day an you could see huge amounts of the gravel for the road in the drains, did they clean them out NO , state of emergency should be called to remove this mayor, as in her last position before mayor she was mia at all times an collected her pay check, personally cant believe this idiot was elected mayor in the first place, i am sure that some of the storm was a problem, but how can one storm cause so much flooding when located on a river, as proper drainage should have been able to handle majority of that rain, funny how the two tinfoil sheds i bought which are just set on 6x6 timber were bone dry inside, yet water was all the way around them, this is a joke, if they declare state of emergency, it will show just how corrupt everything really is, you figure we havent had much snow with exception to last year, in like 15 years, yet they cant even keep the roads decent an taxes havent gone down, wheres all the money saved from so many years , same as how come the same roads are constantly needing repair , yet where have side roads that are a disgrace an if you live near downtown or a not so fancy neighbour hood they ignore you, you see a cop maybe once a year patrol, an when they do illegally parked cars go un ticketed as it to much work for these over paid idiots to do, the only state of emergency here is the need for the federallies to walk in an remove these idiots that have been voted in to run this city for far to long, eight city workers to fix a small patch of pavement, yet one of the most important job as to spring an the people is to keep the sewer system runing properly, but they know theydont have to give a crap cause ya cant go after them, as there really isnt any way to prove they sux at maintaining city infrastructure, when they ripped out the roads around the city to rebuild , WHY are check valves not install to protect this cities residence, same as who is going to clean out the pipes to our homes that from all the sewer back up has deposited in the lines,????? Not our fault the city sewer system failed , because of lack of proper maintanence, an you watch how many people will see problems in the lines from their homes because of all this, but go ahead claim this city as a wonderful place as the only ones who are protected by police are the rich, as you wouldnt ever see the junkies , drunk an crime in their neighbour hoods, their roads are fully maintained an they are the only ones who ever have a say in anything , like avery an his destruction of a wet land for money , i forgot but should have drove out there to film the area after the storm, as i am sure after his money buys his votes , if a rain like that comes again , which it will , you will see 91 septic tanks over flowing onto the ground an into our water ways , an believe me the mess from just one septic is huge to clean up, they send all their experts to talk, yet not one has ever spoke inregard to what can happen in such situations , an thats because they dont want people to think about it before they build it, so they can use the act of god clause as usual, 3 votes to two from the omb, ya three votes from his personal friends, seemsto be a slight conflict of interest, by hell i am just another peon that doesnt know anything, an am sure the truth about the illegal acts that took place will never be told in truth to the public, but i guess thats what donations getyou in life , a free pass to do what ever
scottstewy123 9/18/2013 11:39:09 AM Report
Fratisi right after the disaster said the city may call a state of emergency. Why wait ? Batchawana called it. Thesselon called it. Bar river called it. Echo Bay called it. Fratisi please resign
back4more 9/18/2013 11:52:22 AM Report
That's the biggest paragraph I have ever seen...I didn't read it because it's annoying,...but good job though.
MrsR 9/18/2013 11:57:49 AM Report
People, there is no such thing as flood insurance. Check with your insurance companies...I did. I did however up my premium to increase coverage for sewer backup as this can occur during floods.
back4more 9/18/2013 12:00:49 PM Report
check again...it's called flood insurance...covers beyond failed sump pumps....but you pay quite a bit for it.....especially if you live 10FT FROM A RIVER!
rcssm69 9/18/2013 12:07:24 PM Report
wow wakeup...that really was the most annoying rant I've ever seen on SooToday! Congratulations!
back4more 9/18/2013 12:27:27 PM Report
I counted 1,276 commas in that post
soowat 9/18/2013 12:30:41 PM Report
back4more: There IS NO such thing as flood insurance in Canada according to my insurance company and apparently MRSR's.
If your insurance company offers it please provide the name so that we can sign up. Either that, or admit you're blowing smoke out your anal opening---AGAIN
back4more 9/18/2013 12:46:55 PM Report
Well, I only join in to your pathetic conversations and stir things up on here for my own enjoyment...keep up the good work on here "soowat"....your single handedly changing the world on here.....ha
back4more 9/18/2013 12:50:11 PM Report
just got off the phone with my insurance....I'm covered against "losers that live in their moms basement that accuse me of blowing smoke out my ass".....so keep it up soowat...
skberry 9/18/2013 12:59:58 PM Report
back4more....you definitely belong in this city!! lmao
back4more 9/18/2013 1:07:00 PM Report
thank you....at least sk understands
soowat 9/18/2013 1:15:24 PM Report
back4more: As previously requested, What is the name of your insurance company so the rest of us can get covered. Oh, you don't want to tell.Proves your blowing smoke.
back4more 9/18/2013 1:24:14 PM Report
soowat..are you slow?....reread my posts...
back4more 9/18/2013 1:25:56 PM Report
holy crap skberry is right....the sault is full of halfwits....soowat may very well be the leader!
Jimssm 9/18/2013 1:28:38 PM Report
You need flood insurance for surface water... if it even exists.
Failed sump pump ?....check
Sewer backup ?...... check
Clogged weeping tiles ?... check
Surface water rushing through your basement windows ?... it's gonna cost you a lot even if you can get it.
Jimssm 9/18/2013 1:34:50 PM Report
A City declares a state of emergency when they are not able to handle the emergency on their own and need provincial or federal help. This is a week later and the City has already handled almost everything.
It would be silly for them to declare an emergency now and have the province and feds come in now to help. What exactly would the province do to help ?
The city doesn't need any more bills to pay.
mr smith 9/18/2013 1:43:57 PM Report
Do we not help citizens when they are in dire need of help.Had any alderman or Mayor visit any flood victims to see if they needed anything.It seems our city likes to spend our money on certain people,like lets give anyone who constructs new apartment a tax break for three years ,really,then the city comes to us at budget time and we get a three or four percent increase,this is only one example,they keep going into our pockets for more a few are getting breaks,and the people of this city are left to fend for themselves,example this flood,all I hear from my alderman is your dammed if you do and dammened if you don't.well its our money mr ward five alderman
Bill_the_Cat 9/18/2013 2:08:03 PM Report
wakeup's post looks like a love child between ee cummings and James Joyce.
good4now 9/18/2013 2:55:13 PM Report
Insurance Bureau of Canada
Just yesterday I watched short video on flood coverage from this website:
(in the "You Wanted To Know" section )
There is NO flood insurance available in Canada, but there is always the possibility that it may be someday.
Homeowners MUST request sewer backup "rider" (endorsement) usually available at a small charge.
Not mentioned is the rule of thumb that an insurer will "drop" you after two claims. I've learned that an owner of a new house in a newer development had to move after two floods because the city sewers are either dirty or inadequate.
B Boy 9/18/2013 3:05:01 PM Report
Jimssm - the city cannot take care of matters. The fact is there were many streets with severely damaged or cripple storm sewers from the July storms and this directly resulted in worsened flood conditions or damage in the recent rains.
One article specifically stated that one street required $250k in repairs for which the city didn't have any experienced contractors in the area.
This is exactly why they should have declared the state to call in and request support.
Were they just going to wait until the winter when they couldn't perform the work anymore and hope that the residents would forget about it?
Additionally there are many, many residents who don't have access to their basements, apartments or furnaces - so no heat as the temp drops because the contractors in town are inundated with these insurance calls. Again maybe declaring a state would help, maybe not. But that's why we have elected officials - to know what to do, when to do it and to present our best interests. I'm not seeing evidence of that happening here. Please correct me if I'm wrong so my frustration can be mitigated.
Skierguy 9/18/2013 3:24:21 PM Report
Everyone should relax. Tanned dom Fratisi will have his people look after it all. Don't worry, busine$$ as usual.
rcssm69 9/18/2013 3:35:08 PM Report
The article states:
"Provincial funding for infrastructure repair will not assist with repair to private homes damaged by flooding"
Also, how can you base your information on just one example of the article about Denwood Drive. That area of town was barely affected by the flooding!
jamt22 9/18/2013 3:42:18 PM Report
DECLARE IT ALREADY WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR the city has enough money for a stupid a$$ dog park but cant declare an emergency for us people that live in sault ste marie.... PATHETIC.... the mayor needs to wake up and actually care about the people that just live in the sault and surrounding areas...my husband is working on the trussel it is hanging over 100 feet in the air...along with alot of other peoples husbands and could fall at any time....WAKE UP AND DECLARE IT cause ill tell ya if my husband died from fixing this....there will be a law suit amongst the other families that we be filed....
B Boy 9/18/2013 3:46:06 PM Report
rc: I'm not basing it strictly on that, in fact I'm not referring to private residences whatsoever, I was referring to municipal storm drains which have ruptured damaging the roadways and being unable to effectively process any further significant rains. I'm only referring to the city's difficulty repairing municipal resources. Nothing else.
Honestysucks 9/18/2013 4:11:41 PM Report
I'm sure they have to pay who knows how many people to do who knows what kind of "studies" to know if they should declare state of emergency, my god this town learns knows nothing!!!
rcssm69 9/18/2013 4:48:56 PM Report
It is still strange that that area was mostly unaffected!
ThinkAgain 9/18/2013 4:51:43 PM Report
Has anyone heard from any elected official on the matter? Where did Major Debbie go? Seems Joe just got back from Florida (news interview/tan) and hes not sure what to do.
Don't you believe our elected officials have our backs/ best interest.
I didn't even see anything from any MPP.
Sam C 9/18/2013 4:52:01 PM Report
The culvert let go on the rail line BECAUSE of the rain. I understand wanting to blame someone, or some corporate entity, but sometimes it IS just nature.
Tills 9/18/2013 5:09:16 PM Report
SERIOUSLY!!!!Why would you not? Let me quess, repair now then complaint that city went over budget and increase taxes again next year to cover the shortages.......Tick Tick time to replace city counsel if they fail the citizens on this one. I am watching and will not forget come election time!!
Pakadeva 9/18/2013 5:51:41 PM Report
I think a lot of us were shocked that we weren't declared a state of emergency right away. My street was a river, for the second time this season, I watched my driveway get washed out & run down the street. I was lucky, still have a home to live in. All the people who still can't get to apartments, etc., don't they need help? Contractors need help? Highway 17 closed IS a state of emergency. I don't believe any of the facilities who are on call for these things, were called. I know of a fact of several that were not utilized & should have been & could have been. Where did all the affected people go? On the streets? While we may not be able to get help for personal property damage, we sure could use it for roads etc. My street was re-done last year, it does NOT drain water off properly & doesn't take a lot of rain to start it flooding somewhat. They upped our taxes to pay for said repair, but, their contractors need to be investigated maybe, to find out where the problem is. Not just my street, but, several have the same problem, all the UPGRADED ones!
Big Deal 9/18/2013 6:25:44 PM Report
The City is a joke....ALWAYS has been!!! It is over ran with crooks, bozos and a bunch of morons!!! Everyone in that place should be replaced!!! The people of this city should fire City Hall completely, unorganize this town and let it run with just the basics because that is all we ever get anyways. They are so incompetant they can't even keep our roads clean. It's pretty bad when more isolated towns up north sideroads are better kept than here in this city!!! Like I said....what a joke!!
Stugatzu 9/18/2013 6:32:34 PM Report
There's a highway that runs North and East out of Sault Ste. Marie -- if you don't like living here.
inthewind 9/18/2013 6:53:17 PM Report
I was curious regarding the railway culvert washout and did a quick search. It seems as noted in the Nov. 2011 Sault Ste Marie Region Source Protection Authority's approved assessment report it was noted, if I am reading it correctly, that in 1977 the culvert was recognized as being insufficient.
rcssm69 9/18/2013 7:45:55 PM Report
Sounds to me that you absolutely hate it here and should consider moving to an unorganized township! You might be better off!
Most of the towns to the east are organized, so North is the best place to start!
Goulais River is nice, but might not be quite far enough from you, as you can see the city lights!
Batchewana is a little farther, but a lot of Saultites visit there year round, so I think we need to go further!
Wawa is organized, so let's move on!
White River is way too cold...and they have that funny Winnie the Pooh statue! They're nuts!!!
I'm not sure exactly how far Pickle Lake is, but it should be far enough that WE DON'T HERE YOUR ANNOYING, USELESS WHINING ANYMORE!!!!!!!
crewgrl 9/18/2013 9:54:41 PM Report
Mr. & Mrs. Wishman live on a floodplain, then when there is a flood (gasp!) they run around blaming everyone but themselves!
C'mon people, time to take some responsibility! Don't sit around waiting for someone else to bail you out. You live near a river - know the risks, make a plan, and take care of yourself and your family.
The Root River was running over 5th line on Tuesday morning. That is NORTH of the CN bridge. That's just how much water there was in the system. The bank of the Root River just south of 5th Line has a huge chunk washed away - again, NORTH of the CN bridge.
The City did a good job, both the long term planning (flood control structures) and during the event, keeping things working as best they could with the staff they have available. This could have been a lot worse. Kudos - I know all you Public Works guys worked hard to help the residents of the Sault last week.
Hunter101 9/18/2013 10:02:58 PM Report
Another set of people trying to blame a natural occurrence on the City of Sault Ste. Marie.
DON'T BUILD YOUR HOUSE NEXT TO A DAM!
Pakadeva 9/19/2013 12:32:34 AM Report
I have to admit to seeing a LOT of good work getting done, however, there is so much more to do & winter is not far off? We need the extra help right now.
Lovethenorth 9/19/2013 10:00:07 AM Report
From what I've heard....This was NOT a natural occurrence. Yes, the rain was a natural occurrence, but if that trestle failed because it was faulty or ancient...well...that's human error and someone besides those who were flooded should pay!
rcssm69 9/19/2013 3:50:22 PM Report
And just where did you hear that from???
H.E.T. 9/19/2013 8:53:54 PM Report
Hey STUPID!! you build on the bank of a river, what the hell do you expect. 12 yrs WOW!! not even the blink of an eye to nature. When Northern Lights Ford got washed out did they blame the MTO? No ! Is it the city's fault? NO Is it CN's fault? NO Is it your fault? Hell ya the river was there first and YOU moved into a flood plain!! Grow up, lick your wounds and quit trying to find someone else to blame for YOUR stupidity.