Sioux Lookout Flooding Update: May 18, 2022

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SIOUX LOOKOUT – NEWS – Flooding is impacting Sioux Lookout. Officials in the Municipality say that the situation is very fluid right now, and further updates are likely.

The Municipality of Sioux Lookout is taking action to protect people and property as water levels continue to rise.

“The pedestrian bridge at the Travel Information Centre has been blocked off at both ends and we are asking people to avoid the area at this time,” explained Manager of Public Works and Infrastructure, Jeff Hawley.

Public Works Operations Manager, Mat Lelonde, adds, “We are working directly with residents impacted by flooding in low lying areas and are providing targeted support. Lakeshore Drive is being sandbagged, as the water is now level with the road. A section of Ethel Street is also closed, due to water over the road at the far east end. Sturgeon River Road had a small washout at the first culvert past the hotels. We have temporarily repaired the culvert and have both lanes open again. We continue to monitor it closely, but it will likely be closed later today.”

The Municipality is prepared to deal with increasing water levels, with a large number of sandbags on hand to respond to changing conditions. We have also been successful in securing additional sand bags for use by residents to protect their properties. Residents wishing to pick up empty sandbags to protect their properties may visit our Public Works office from 7:30 a.m. until noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Sand bags can be filled at the Third Avenue ball diamonds, where sand will be available at no cost.

To date, there are no indications that highway access to the community will be cut off, as we have seen in other parts of Northwestern Ontario. Staff continue to monitor the situation and will take proactive measures where necessary.

The Municipality of Sioux Lookout is working with the Province to have the Municipality designated a flood area. If the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing declares Sioux Lookout a flood area, individuals may be eligible for the province’s disaster mitigation relief funding, the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program. Details are available at https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-disaster-recovery-assistance. Those seeking funding will need to apply directly to the Province, but must first exhaust any insurance coverage they are entitled to. We will update the public if the Minister makes this declaration.

In the meantime, it would be helpful to know how many property owners have suffered damage to their principal residence or business. Please contact the Municipality to share this information at 737-2700 during regular business hours. You may also email customerservice@siouxlookout.ca to share your information.

With walleye season opening on Saturday, many are wondering about the status of the Municipality’s public boat launches. Staff are monitoring the situation daily and the docks will be put in as soon as it is safe to do so in each location.

Currently, docks are installed or will be installed by the end of day Friday, May 20th at the following locations: Boat Bay; Botham’s Bay; Deception Bay; Sturgeon River; and West Hudson.

The boat launchs at Superior Junction is accessible, but the water is extremely high. The ramps are under water. These locations are to be used at your own risk only.

The Five Mile boat launch is extremely unsafe at the moment and should not be used. The ramp is underwater and the secondary ramp is unavailable as the dock is currently tied up and floating in that area. Water has also entered into the parking area.
Water levels at West Point Cove are also extremely high and the docks are in, but barricaded off for safety reasons. Water levels have reached the end of the ramp, but it is still possible to launch from West Point Cove. Extreme caution is urged when using this location.

The Municipality of Sioux Lookout will advise when boat launch passes will be available. Once available, passes may be purchased at the front desk of the Recreation Centre or from various businesses in the area. A list of vendors can be found at siouxlookout.ca under Explore the Hub / Boating and Fishing.

There has also been concern expressed about the appearance of fuel entering the water along Wellington Street. The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has been in discussion with business owners in the area and is satisfied that the mitigation measures implemented by the business owners are appropriate and adequate, with no reason for concern at this time.