11:00EDT June 4 2012 – Thunder Bay Recovery and Flooding Update


Thunder BayTHUNDER BAY – Lakehead University will soon open its doors to residents affected by the City Flood Emergency.

“We immediately offered the Neebing Arena as a place where people could go for temporary accommodation, in large part because it didn’t use the City’s sanitation system,” said Acting Mayor Rebecca Johnson. “With almost 500 requests for assistance, it will take some time to clean homes and people need other, longer-term housing options.

“We really appreciate the accommodation provided by LU. We want to encourage people to leave their homes if they have a flooded basement. The longer families stay in a flooded home the more chance their health will be impacted,” Acting Mayor Johnson said.

Today Lakehead University announced it will make approximately 160 beds and full meal service available to those who need it. The Canadian Red Cross will coordinate placing people in these accommodations.

“We want people to feel as comfortable as possible during this tough time and opening up our residences is part of our commitment to the community,” said Dr. Brian Stevenson, President of Lakehead University. “We are already providing housing for over two dozen people affected by the flood and 300 individuals working for restoration companies cleaning and restoring water damaged homes and basements.”

Also on Monday, Police Chief JP Levesque gave an update on the consequences of theft: “The Crown Attorney’s Office has said it will vigorously prosecute any instances of theft or looting,” Levesque said. “There have been a couple of instances of theft from yards; we’ve increased our walking and mobile patrols to areas where that has occurred. We haven’t seen any further incidents since we stepped up patrols.”

Plant Update: “Progress is being made at the Secondary Sewage Treatment Plant to allow for assessment and repairs to the main pumping station,” said Darrell Matson, General Manager – Infrastructure & Operations. “The temporary pumping station is working well but progress will be hampered if we get a large amount of rainfall”.

“We’re optimistic in getting one motor running today, although it will take a lot of coordination to make that happen,” Matson said.

The City requests that residents and businesses across the City continue to minimize the amount of water being flushed or sent down drains in order to reduce the strain on the sewage plant.

St. Peter’s Church: The St. Peter’s Church members and Volunteer Group are transitioning relief assistance to The Canadian Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

The following changes began Sunday at the Church:

  • Reduction of Church hours to the following: 9-11 am and 2-5 pm
  • Full meal service will no longer be provided at the Church. The Salvation Army meal van will serve food throughout the day (times under Food and Water) and the Church will continue providing coffee and light snacks in the basement
  • Donations will continue being distributed to people in need from the remaining supply, although the Church will no longer accept donations. Monetary donations can be made to The Salvation Army, The Canadian Red Cross (information about how to donate is under Key Contact Numbers) or the new City of Thunder Bay Flood Assistance Fund that is expected to be established on Monday in keeping with the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP).
  • Volunteers will continue providing information to affected residents by working closely with the City’s Emergency Operations Control Group. Representatives from the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the Northwest Community Care Access Centre will also provide information at the Church

Disaster Assistance: Acting Mayor Johnson will ask City Council tonight to immediately take the next step to get ready for disaster assistance from other levels of government including establishing a new Disaster Assistance Committee comprised of local members to be appointed by Council. The Committee will administer a City of Thunder Bay Disaster Relief Fund for those who are uninsured from losses. This will go to Council tonight and will be implemented as soon as a disaster area has been declared for Thunder Bay by the Province. An announcement will be made when application forms are available. The Committee will also be involved in raising funds for the Relief Fund to complement the efforts of Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Clean-up Program: About 460 homeowners have registered for clean up assistance as of today through the volunteer clean-up program through the Construction Association of Thunder Bay, the City’s Construction Services Division within the Facilities & Fleet Department. Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Service and the Mennonite Disaster Team are also providing cleanup assistance. The focus will be on making homes safe and to address health issues. The City will also be looking to provide additional resources for immediate clean up given the number of people who need immediate help.

Thunder Bay Hydro has reconnected 51 of the 118 homes that were without power as a result of the flood, leaving 67 disconnected as of today.

Affected residents, especially those with no insurance, who need help with clean-up are asked to call 98 FLOOD [983-5663].

Tbaytel has various programs in place to assist their customers impacted by the flood. Affected customers are asked to call 623-4400 for assistance.

If residents are concerned about living in a flood-damaged household, they are encouraged to seek shelter or services such as showers and food at the flood evacuation shelter at Neebing Arena. Transportation to the Neebing Arena will be made available by visiting the Fire command post at St. Peter’s Church, 700 McIntosh Street, or by calling 98 FLOOD [983-5663].

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