Study Approved to Find Flow Obstructions in Little River

AM800-NEWS-high-water-Little-River-July-8-2019

The City of Windsor is moving forward with a study of water flow in the Little River dyke system.

Council unanimously approved spending $250,000 on a consultant to identify any obstructions including resident owned docks, decks, boat lifts and fences.

Several Little River residents spoke at council Monday night, all agreed the real risk to water flow is outdated bridges at Riverside Dr. and Little River Rd.

AM800-NEWS-high-water-Little-River-bridge-July-8-2019

High water levels shown at the Little River bridge at Riverside Dr. on July 8, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Steve Bell)

Resident Ray Manzerolle says water levels are nearly touching both bridges.

"Times are changing. We're living in an era that is unlike anything I've ever seen in my entire life. I've never seen water levels this high. Imagine an ice jam. I would imagine that ice backing up would cause all the problems that they're saying that trees and other debris would do. So it's about having a clean pipe."

Manzerolle adds the bridges will act as a dam for anything flowing down the river.

"So many items that they're saying need to be removed simply need to be removed because of the fact that if there is an issue, where they'll get stuck at are those two bridges. Those bridges were built on a basis of where water levels and the way weather was 40 years ago."

Joanne Barten lives on Little River as well and says there needs to be a clear set of rules for residents.

"What I want them to consider is written communication regularly, reminders, communication with residents. Properties change ownership. People aren't necessarily aware of what is permitted and what isn't and I think that needs to be addressed really consistently. Just understanding what is being required."

AM800-NEWS-Little-River-resident-Joanne-Barten-July-8-2019

Little River resident Joanne Barten speaks with the media at a Windsor Council meeting on July 8, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Ward 7 councillor Irek Kusmierczyk says the aim of the study is to provide more clarity for residents as to what's allowed and what's not.

He says the study is well overdue.

"We are sort of at the eleventh hour right now and with the water rising this really is a situation where we really need to make sure that there are no obstructions along the Little River because what we're talking about here is not just the 150 or 160 homes along Little River, we're talking about 6,000 homes that would be affected if the dyke breaches."

Kusmierczyk says there's a lot at stake.

"The city needed to make a decision. We've had public consultations. This was two years in the making and I think it was important that we move forward with this plan. We've seen the water rising right now, inch by inch, day by day, and we have to make sure that we're protecting the public safety and the property and the lives that depend on that dyke for public safety."

am800-news-little-river-2-june-2017

Encroachments on Little River (by AM800's Peter Langille)

He says annual inspections of the dyke are a part of the plan going forward as well.

"Annual inspections will be absolutely critical. So once a year our staff will, I'm sure with ERCA as well too, will be reviewing the status of the berm making sure that everything is intact, making sure the obstructions have been removed from the Little River corridor. That's absolutely critical."

The flow study is expected to take about three months — residents will then have three months to remove any structures deemed to be an obstruction.

According to a city report, the Little River dyke handles about 33% of Windsor's storm water.