Sandbag pickup depot in Windsor, Ont., on May 8, 2019. (Angelo Aversa / CTV Windsor)

The City of Windsor has closed the sandbag station since the residential demand for sandbags has decreased.

Officials said water levels along Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and Little River have receded to a safer level.

“Over the course of this year, we’ve provided approximately 30,000 sandbags to property owners as a precaution against overland flooding,” said operations executive director Dwayne Dawson. “With water levels now down and winter on the way, the more immediate threat has passed, so we’re redeploying our resources elsewhere until needed again.”

City officials said this has been an exceptional year for flood mitigation and preparations, which became complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic response.

In addition to the annual sandbag depot, the city provided additional services, including home-delivery of sandbags to help those residents who were isolating due to the pandemic. The city also communicated directly with target residents through individual letters as well as information brochures.

“It’s easy to forget that, just a few months ago, our community faced the prospect of a natural disaster on top of the pandemic,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “In late spring, our team at city hall was monitoring water levels at the same time as we were COVID-19 case counts. While we never faced major flooding this year, the risk remained high throughout the late winter and spring—that’s why continuing to invest per the Sewer Master Plan is a major priority.”

Dilkens said important infrastructure upgrades are currently underway to expand capacity of the underground network of storm sewers, in part due to federal funding. Windsor’s $90-million Phase 1 Disaster Mitigation & Adaptation Fund project is currently in progress, while an active application is currently being evaluated by the federal government that would fund an additional $80 million in local improvements.

Property owners with sandbag barriers are being told to leave them in place until spring water level predictions are better known, as the barriers will continue to protect against heavy wind and wave activity.  The water level, while lower, remains above normal levels, so caution is still advised.