VIDEO: ERCA Calls for Permanent Exit for Cotterie Park Residents

The Director of Watershed Management for the Essex Region Conservation Authority suggests residents living along Cotterie Park Road in Leamington should move out of the area. 

Tim Byrne tells CTV Windsor he is concerned about the risks from flooding and shoreline erosion. 

"I don't mean to sound heartless on the situation but the fact of the issue at hand is they are threatened," says Byrne. "They are threatened regularly. The threat is imminent."

Byrne says it is a dangerous situation that residents and the municipality should not take lightly. 

"Should it reach any type of measurable storm intensity, there will be damage, destruction and potential loss of life," says Byrne. "It is not a what if scenario, it is reality."

The area was hit with flooding Monday night, prompting ERCA to issue Flood Warning that has been extended until Thursday. 

Residents who live in permanent seasonal homes and along the eastern Lake Erie shoreline say they are used to crashing waves and high winds. 

"I stay awake at night and I walk down the road and I look and I just keep waiting for that water to start coming over the road," admits resident Larry Foster. "We're going to have our own island here pretty soon."

Another resident, Parry Hutchins, says fixing property damage and mitigating flood waters has become a way of life in Cotterie Park. 

"It's just sad that we got to go through this every year when the problem could be solved," says Hutchins, who is among the residents along the road who want government to pay for a new breakwall. 
"You know it's a lot of money to put in a break wall," says resident Michelle Quenneville. "That's like $60-to-$80,000. It's not something people can come up with right away."

But Byrne tells CTV Windsor it's pointless to spend taxpayer money in that area. 

"There is not a public benefit to invest public dollars to maintain that area for those people to be there," says Byrne. "Should we receive gale force winds, we will see damage exceeding millions of dollars."

Byrne adds the stretch between Point Pelee and Wheatley, most notably Cotterie Park, is over saturated and can barely handle any more water.

 

 

— With files from CTV Windsor