Safety

Second Public Education Meeting Set For Lake Erie Shoreline Hazard Mapping And Risk Assessment Study

In 2018, Haldimand County, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), Long Point Region Conservation Authority (LPRCA) and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) initiated a study to update the Lake Erie shoreline flood, erosion and dynamic beach hazard mapping.

The majority of the work to update the hazard mapping to current mapping and technical standards is now complete. The second of two Public Education Centres (PEC) is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Selkirk Centennial Community Centre (34 Main Street West, Selkirk). The first PEC took place in September 2018.

The PEC will follow an open house format. There will be no formal presentations; however, the session will provide an opportunity for landowners and members of the public to learn about the findings of the study, as well as contribute their knowledge of local conditions. County and Conservation Authority staff will be available to answer questions and all members of the public interested in the project are welcome to attend.

This is a technical study to update hazard mapping. Updates to conservation authority shoreline management plans or policies, Haldimand County’s Emergency Response Plan and Official Plan are outside the scope of this project.

The PECs for this project will meet the requirements for public consultation for any resulting amendments to regulated area mapping of Ontario Regulations 150/06, 155/06 and 178/06 made under the Conservation Authorities Act.

Consistent hazard mapping across conservation authority jurisdictions is required to support land use planning and permitting decisions in at-risk communities and flood and erosion-related response and mitigation planning. Current shoreline hazard mapping for the County within LPRCA and GRCA jurisdictions was prepared in the late 1980s – early 1990s, while the mapping within the NPCA jurisdiction was updated in 2010.

The project will also update municipal risk assessment information for shoreline flooding, including inventorying at-risk infrastructure and estimating damage potential. It is anticipated the project will be completed by early 2020.

Haldimand County Fire Department Reminding Residents Of Open Air Fire Burning By-Law

With the return of warm weather there has been an increase in the number of recreational and non-recreational fires in Haldimand County. The Haldimand County Fire Department is reminding residents of the Open Air Burn By-law and asking for everyone’s cooperation to ensure that outdoor fires are safe and controlled. During this hot & humid weather, any burning should be limited to recreational fires.

Recreational fires are allowed in all areas without a permit as long as the fire meets all of the regulations set out in the Open Air Burn By-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring the fire is contained and supervised at all times and that it is set back at least 10 meters from combustible buildings/structures. A means of extinguishing the fire must be available and measures must be in place to ensure that no one is adversely affected by the products of combustion (smoke and odours).

Non-recreational fires are only permitted in certain areas of the County and require a burn permit that can be purchased at all County offices. Non-recreational fires must meet all of the regulations set out in the by-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring fires are supervised at all times and contained to an area not exceeding 6 meters by 6 meters. Non-recreational fires must also be set back at least 60 meters from all buildings, roadways and anything combustible.

Open air fires that are not conducted according to the by-law present potential safety hazards. Anyone conducting an open air fire that violates the by-law are subject to fines, provincial prosecution and recovery of costs required to respond to and/or extinguish the fire.

Haldimand County Firefighters Conducting Annual Household Smoke Detector, Carbon Monoxide Alarm Inspection Program

Over the next few months, Haldimand County’s volunteer firefighters will be out in the community conducting carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm checks. The annual program aims to educate residents about the importance of having working alarms and provide assistance with installation and/or battery replacement.

The annual inspections are one of many public education initiatives in the County’s Fire Prevention program, which is mandatory under the Province’s Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997. In 2018, the Fire Department inspected 542 homes and installed 42 smoke alarms, 58 carbon monoxide detectors and 24 batteries.

“People are very receptive to us coming to their door,” said Jason Gallagher, Haldimand County’s Manager of Emergency Services & Fire Chief. “Some of them are actually surprised when we tell them their equipment needs to be updated. It’s just not top-of-mind, and it really has to be,” he continued.

As per the Ontario Building Code, smoke alarms must be installed be on every floor of a dwelling and outside all sleeping areas within a home. CO detectors need to be adjacent to sleeping areas as well as fuel burning appliances in the home or an attached garage.

Gallagher noted that while many households pass the inspection, firefighters always come upon cases where alarms are completely absent or installed but have either dead batteries or none at all. “It’s important to note that residents won’t be penalized or fined if, during a check, firefighters discover that they don’t have working alarms. We’ll simply provide an alarm or batteries and help get them installed,” Gallagher continued.

Simple smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector tips:

– Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of your home. For added protection, install a smoke alarm in every bedroom according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms.

– Install carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage. For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of your home according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

– Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button. Change the batteries every year.

– Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors wear out over time. Replace these according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Residents with questions about fire prevention are encouraged to make use of the resources available on the County website or contact the County’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 905-318-5932.

Haldimand County Emergency Services Issues Emergency Preparedness Week Reminder, Invites Residents To Open House

Ahead of Emergency Preparedness Week (May 5-11, 2019), Haldimand County Emergency Services is urging residents to be emergency ready by learning more about area risks, creating a plan and assembling an emergency preparedness kit. On May 10 from 2-4pm, residents are invited to drop by Emergency Services headquarters in Cayuga to chat with staff, ask questions and get emergency planning tips.

Emergency Preparedness Week (EP Week) is an annual, nationwide event that encourages Canadians to be proactive in planning for potential emergencies. “Emergencies or disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. Being prepared is critical since it can take time for help to arrive,” said Don Otterman, Deputy Chief, Paramedic Services. “Every resident should have a plan and an emergency preparedness kit ready to take care of themselves and their family for at least 72 hours,” he added. Kits should include a variety of items including: a flashlight, batteries, non-perishable food, water, a sewing kit, copies of important IDs (e.g: birth certificates), towels, rope and garbage bags among other necessities.

Haldimand County has an incredibly detailed Emergency Plan that is ready to be activated in the case of a disaster or emergency situation. “Emergency planning is a continuous activity for Haldimand County. Every year, staff participate in emergency simulation exercises that get staff thinking on their feet and practicing the duties they’d be required to carry out in the event of an actual disaster,” Otterman explained. “It’s not just first responders that participate, either – management and certain administrative staff have key roles to play in an emergency response, from implementing road closures to setting up evacuation centers and communicating information,” he added.

Otterman emphasized the importance of including children in emergency readiness discussions and planning, so they know what to expect should a dire situation arise. Every family member should have a role and know what to do. Parents are encouraged to utilize Haldimand County’s activity books to educate their children on what to do and how to stay calm in case of an emergency. Family pets should also be considered when making preparations.

Staying connected and informed is another important part of emergency preparedness. Knowing where to look for information and updates throughout an emergency situation is critically important. In addition to local radio – specifically 92.9 The Grand FM, the County’s emergency broadcast partner – residents should monitor local news (CHCH TV), the County website and its social media accounts (Facebook & Twitter). “In an evacuation scenario, residents may not have access to TV or radio. Under these circumstances, our website and social media accounts serve as critical communication channels,” Otterman noted.

Emergency preparedness resources are available on the Haldimand County website and GetPrepared.gc.ca. Anyone with questions related to emergency preparedness may also call
Haldimand County Emergency Services at 905-318-5932.

Flood Warning terminated

The Grand River Conservation Authority has terminated all flood watches and warnings.

Flows continue to recede throughout the Grand River watershed. River ice and associated ice jams have generally moved out of the river system. A small ice jam remains in place in the Grand River at Port Maitland. This ice jam is not causing major flooding at this time.

Milder weather with limited rainfall is expected to move in to the watershed over the coming week. These weather conditions will help melt the remaining snow pack. The slow release of runoff into local waterways is not anticipated to cause additional flooding.

Flood Watch Upgraded To Flood Warning; Ice Jam Risk Continues For Haldimand County, Southern Grand River Watershed

The Flood Watch for low-lying areas along the Grand has been upgraded to a Flood Warning. Haldimand County Emergency Services has been monitoring conditions along shoreline areas and have reported minor flooding in the Caledonia, Cayuga, York and Dunnville areas. River levels are high on the upper river between Dunnville and Caledonia. The Kinsmen Park off of Ouse St. in Cayuga is flooded, as well as parts of the Lions Park in Dunnville, Seneca Park, the Caledonia Fairgrounds and York Park. York Park has been closed due to flooding, as well as Ouse St. at Baird St.

Flows in northern and central portions of the Grand River watershed continue to recede but will remain high through the weekend. Flows through Dunnville are forecast to peak shortly after midnight on Sunday morning. Flows through York and Cayuga will peak late Saturday evening.

River ice remains present in the southern Grand River upstream of Dunnville Dam. Residents in low-lying, flood-prone areas in Cayuga, Caledonia, York, Dunnville & Port Maitland should keep a close watch on conditions, regularly check for updated messages and exercise caution around riverbanks and lakeshore areas. Residents who have a historic susceptibility to flooding should consider taking action to secure or protect any property in flood-prone or vulnerable areas. This may include ensuring sump pumps are functioning and/or securing items along the shore line.

Updated flood messages will be issued as conditions develop and better forecast information becomes available. Residents are encouraged to monitor the Grand River Conservation Authority & Haldimand County websites and social media accounts for the most up-to-date flood and weather warning information.

OPP Conducting Distracted Driving Campaign (March 11-17, 2019)

With the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) set to conduct its Distracted Driving Campaign during March Break, drivers caught using their cell phones may also get caught off guard by the tougher penalties that took effect on January 1, 2019.

The new penalties include a fine increase up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day licence suspension. The penalties increase with subsequent offences. For novice drivers in the graduated licencing system, there is no fine or additional demerit points but longer licence suspensions now apply.

The deaths of 55 people and more than 9,115 collisions were linked to an inattentive driver on OPP patrolled roads in 2018. The OPP laid 13,529 Distracted Driving charges last year against drivers whochose to make roads unsafe by dividing their attention between driving and using a hand-held electronic device.

For more information on distracted driving, including statistics, fines and penalties, visit the Province’s website.

Flood Warning terminated, High Lake Level Outlook remains in place

The Flood Warning for Lake Erie issued on Sunday, February 24 has been terminated. A Lake Erie Conditions Statement – High Lake Level Outlook remains in place due to the heightened potential for shoreline flooding and erosion.

During the peak of the weather event on Sunday, wind gusts reached upwards of 120 km/h in some locations with sustained winds of approximately 65 km/h along the Lake Erie shoreline. These winds caused flooding of Zones 1 and 2 in Port Maitland due to a lake surge of approximately 0.5m above critical level.

Due to the instability of ice along the Lake Erie shoreline, elevated water levels and cold water temperatures, people are reminded to stay well away from these areas and keep children and pets well back.

Lake levels are updated each hour on the GRCA website at www.grandriver.ca under the river data section.

Wind And Flood Warning Continues; High Risk Of Severe Flooding For Areas Downstream Of Dunnville Dam

The Flood Warning remains in effect for areas along the Grand River downstream of Dunnville Dam, in the village of Port Maitland and along the lakeshore.
The current forecast indicates a high risk for severe flooding.

Surge levels of this magnitude have not been experienced since December 1985. In addition to high Lake Erie levels there is potential for Lake Erie ice to push up into the Grand River downstream of Dunnville Dam and along the lakeshore.

Uncertainty remains regarding the timing and height of the Lake Erie surge. The timing of the surge peak will affected by the arrival of the strongest winds, while the height will be impacted by the ice cover on Lake Erie and whether the ice begins to break up during this event.

Haldimand County Fire & EMS are urging residents and businesses downstream of the dam to take precautions and remain alert. They should contact their insurance companies for flood insurance if they do not already have it. Powell Marina, Willow Lane, Port Maitland and low point cottage areas are expected to be the main affected areas along the Grand River and Lake Erie Shoreline.

Haldimand County Fire Chief Jason Gallagher is also urging residents stay in their homes and not venture out; high winds mean blowing debris which cause dangerous projectiles. Residents should also stay off the Port Maitland Pier until the winds subside. Residents are also reminded to only call 911 in cases of real emergencies; first responders need to be available to respond to true emergencies.

Haldimand County OPP and municipal staff will continue to monitor roads along the lakeshore on Sunday evening and overnight into Monday morning and implement closures as necessary.

The public are urged to stay away from Lake Erie shoreline areas experiencing strong wave action and elevated water levels. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas. This message is in effect until Monday, February 25, 2019 and will be updated as needed.

Residents are encouraged to monitor the Grand River Conservation Authority & Haldimand County websites and social media accounts for the most up-to-date flood and weather warning information.

Grand River Conservation Authority Warns Of High Lake Erie Levels, Issues Flood Warning For Areas Downstream Of Dunnville Dam

On Friday, February 22, the Grand River Conservation Authority issued a Flood Warning for areas along the Grand River downstream of Dunnville Dam, in the village of Port Maitland and along the lakeshore.

Environment Canada has issued a Special Weather Statement for Lake Erie, warning of damaging south-west winds, gusting up to 110 km/h, beginning Sunday afternoon and persisting through Sunday night. As a result of these winds, Lake Erie levels are expected to rise and there is a strong possibility of flooding and erosion in low lying areas along the Lake Erie shoreline. Powell Marina, Willow Lane, Port Maitland and low point cottage areas are expected to be the main affected areas.

Haldimand County Emergency Services staff and the OPP will be closely monitoring conditions and roads along the lakeshore on Sunday to implement closures as necessary.

Members of the public are urged to stay away from Lake Erie shoreline areas experiencing strong wave action and elevated water levels. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas.

The Flood Warning will remain in effect until noon on Monday, February 25, 2019. Updated flood messages will be issued as conditions develop and better forecast information becomes available. Residents are encouraged to monitor the Grand River Conservation Authority & Haldimand County websites and social media accounts for the most up-to-date flood and weather warning information.

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