Cobourg residents with properties fronting onto Lake Ontario are asking for the Town’s help with sandbags. Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin and Director of Works Laurie Wills have responded but so far the only help offered is “Unfortunately all we can do is provide the materials but not the labour.” The official numbers for lake levels show that the lake level is at higher levels than in 2017 and has peaked – although it has not yet dropped. The problem is that with high winds, the shoreline is getting damaged. Some property owners are losing land and flooding is occurring at the Marina and along the West beach boardwalk. Average levels only tell part of the story – winds cause levels to go even higher.
Many people are blaming Plan 2014 for the floods – including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who blasts the International Joint Commission who created and manage it.
Here are some excerpts from his letter to them (full letter in link below):
“The International Joint Commission (IJC) has no excuse for its failure to prepare for adequately managing the high-water levels Lake Ontario has experienced and continues to experience this year.
– – – The IJC has acknowledged that its actions, or lack thereof, have served to protect commercial shipping at the expense of riparian land-owners.
– – – Following the 2017 flooding, the IJC knew or should have known of the significant potential for future flooding events, but failed to exercise the forethought to protect against the devastating impacts of flooding.
– – – The IJC must adopt a fairer course to ensure that the protection of the public on both sides of the Lake and the River are, at all times, its highest priority.
In light of the devastating flooding occurring, the State of New York demands that the IJC reimburse New York for its costs, and make additional funds available for resiliency projects and other protective measures made necessary by the IJC’s acts and omissions.”
Plan 2014 does allow for higher (and lower) water levels and is controversial – see links below.
On Saturday, I shot a video and some stills – see below. I have also updated the graph showing PEAK levels – these are higher than the official average numbers. But you can see that the West Beach Boardwalk was flooded and left behind debris. The work done with large rocks after the 2017 flood seems to be working at Monk’s Cove and I understand that some other west end lakefront properties took similar action.
The Beach is flooded and a health warning has been issued to stay out of the stagnant water. Tourism will no doubt be affected but the cooler weather has meant there are few beach visitors anyway. It remains to be seen whether the beach will be in good shape by the July 1st weekend and the Waterfront Festival ($5/day for Rotary tent and free for Lions area in Victoria Park).
The Marina is operating although there is no electric power to any boats.
Provided by Water Street resident.
Email from Deputy Mayor to Director Laurie Wills – June 14
I just visited a few homes on Water Street (181 & 197). They contacted public works this morning to ask for sand bags as they are losing lakefront property daily. Not sure that the sand bags would help but they would like to get access to some to protect what they still have. Are there any staff on the weekend that could help? Please let me know as I said that I would try to help. Thanks.
Reply from Laurie Wills
Hi Suzanne, hopefully they got through to our public works dispatch to request the sand and bags. Unfortunately all we can do is provide the materials but not the labour.
I will forward the request to our on call lead hand to ensure he got the request.
- Letter from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – 8 June 2019
- New Record High for Lake Ontario Water Levels – 30 May 2019
- Lake Levels at Cobourg – Fisheries and Oceans Canada – source of data for graph
- Concerns about High Lake Levels – 13 April 2018 – explanation of Plan 2014 (and concern) by delegation to Northumberland County Council
- Plan 2014 – News item 8 Dec 2016