Snow stalls photo shoot

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

The re­cent snow­fall has fur­ther de­layed the ini­tial phase of South Glen­garry’s emer­gency pre­pared­ness plan aimed at help­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties bet­ter proac­tively deal with and pre­vent the ef­fects of flood­ing.

The town­ship was no­ti­fied in early May that its ap­pli­ca­tion to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional Dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion Pro­gram (NDMP) in the amount of $116,000 – to be used to es­tab­lish and im­ple­ment the emer­gency pro­to­col – was suc­cess­ful.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity had in­tended to start the pro­ject the pre­vi­ous month, but the later-thanan­tic­i­pated fund­ing an­nounce­ment caused a de­lay.

At the most re­cent reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing on Novem­ber 19, Joanne Ha­ley, the town­ship’s gen­eral man­ager of com­mu­nity ser­vices, ex­plained that the first phase of the pro­ject – Li­Dar, or light de­tec­tion and rang­ing, ae­rial pho­tog­ra­phy and sur­vey­ing of 48 square kilo­me­tres of vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas of the town­ship near the St. Lawrence and Raisin rivers – had been stalled yet again, this time by Mother Na­ture.

“Orig­i­nally, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment said that they’d be mak­ing the (fund­ing) an­nounce­ment at the end of March 2018, which would have al­lowed us to pro­ceed with the Li­Dar map­ping in early May,” said Mrs. Ha­ley.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the an­nounce­ment didn’t come out un­til later on in May, which meant that we were go­ing to be fly­ing near the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber.”

Air­borne Imag­ing Inc., an in­ter­na­tional firm with of­fices in Cal­gary and Ot­tawa, was

awarded the con­tract for the Li­Dar map­ping pho­tog­ra­phy on Novem­ber 6.

“They were wait­ing for good weather, and now with the snow on the ground, it’s pos­si­ble that the fly­ing might not even oc­cur in 2018,” said Mrs. Ha­ley.

“This part of the pro­ject can only oc­cur in the sea­sons where there is ‘leaf off’ or very lit­tle veg­e­ta­tion to al­low for very clear imag­ing to be taken.”

Mrs. Ha­ley added, “We can’t have any snow on the ground to get proper Li­Dar.” The early taste of win­ter likely means that the ae­rial pho­tog­ra­phy won’t take place un­til next spring.

“That leaves us with a very tight time frame, work­ing with our en­gi­neer­ing firm, as well as to do all the emer­gency plan­ning stud­ies that are re­quired to ful­fill the needs of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment grant,” said Mrs. Ha­ley. “And we have been told that there will be no flex­i­bil­ity for the dead­line (March 31, 2020), or for an ex­ten­sion of that dead­line. But we will work with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to see if that is pos­si­ble.”

Mayor Ian McLeod con­ceded that coun­cil’s hands are tied.

“I think we have to make sure that we have the proper con­di­tions so that we can get some re­li­able data that can be uti­lized in the fu­ture,” said Mayor McLeod.

“And I re­al­ize that at the back end it’s go­ing to take a lot of work, but I think we’re go­ing to have to go that route.”

Other com­po­nents of the town­ship’s emer­gency pre­pared­ness plan in­clude the com­ple­tion of mod­el­ling for both bod­ies of wa­ter to de­ter­mine their flood­ing po­ten­tial, and the prepa­ra­tion of an emer­gency re­sponse plan spe­cific to flood­ing along the St. Lawrence River.

The to­tal cost of the pro­ject is $249,250.

Coun­cil had pre­vi­ously ear­marked $120,000 for the ini­tia­tive, with in-kind time from both the town­ship and the Raisin Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity (RRCA) – in ad­di­tion to the $116,000 re­ceived from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment – cov­er­ing the re­main­der.

Mrs. Ha­ley stressed the im­por­tance of the ae­rial pho­tog­ra­phy and sur­vey­ing com­po­nent of the emer­gency pre­pared­ness plan in an in­ter­view with The News this past May.

“Right now, our flood plain map­ping is so old, we don’t know if it’s ac­cu­rate or not,” she said.

“Some­times, we’re hav­ing to get peo­ple to spend more money just to do new sur­veys to prove the map­ping to be in­cor­rect.”

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