12:30 a.m., May 6)
Rising flood waters threaten homes on
By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star
Larrivée and his wife Sahondrina can
still manage a smile as a pump works overtime
keeping the rising flood water out of their
riverfront home on Leo Lane. Fred Sherwin/Photo
the rain continues to fall in the National Capital Region,
residents on Leo Lane, outside Cumberland Village, are
fighting an ongoing battle against the rising flood waters
and holding their own thanks to a small army of volunteers.
Ottawa River first started to crest the bank outside Dan
Larrivée's home about 10 days ago, but after a
couple of days it stopped and the water began to recede
ever so slightly.
was last Sunday. On Monday the rain returned and so did
the water. It slow creeping up his backyard toward the
house. At the same time water began inundating a channel
that bends around a small point at the end of Leo Lane
where Michel Potvin has a house. Both men already had
some sand bags in place to protect against the earlier
3 a.m. Tuesday morning, Larrivée was making the
rounds refueling his pumps when he heard the water rushing
through a breach in the sand bag wall at his neighbour's
house owned by real estate agents Genevieve Landry and
was like a river. I honestly didn't know what to do. I
was kind of confused like I was in a dream. I wasn't sure
whether I should wake everyone up or not," recalls
morning, Larivée's six foot crawl space was filled
with three feet of water. Blenkiron and Landry's crawl
space was also flooded with about three feet of water
and Potvin's crawl space was almost completely filled.
water had breached the bank of the channel and had completely
inundated the area between their homes and East Shore
Road, which runs between Leo Lane and Ottawa Road 174.
unoccupied house sits surrounded by water
on Leo Lane. Fred Sherwin/Photo
son David Desmarais said the flooding took them totally
first thought, when the water came up two weeks ago, was
that it wasn't going to get any worse, and it's actually
got a lot worse. It hasn't slowed down at all. In fact,
it's come up about six inches from yesterday and were
expecting it to come up another foot over the weekend,"
of the flooding got out through social media and within
hours emergency crews showed up with additional sand bags
and pumps. All three Leo Lane residents were able to get
their crawl spaces pumped out, but the rain didn't let
up, and neither did the water.
has been running three pumps non-stop. That means having
to refuel them every 60-90 minutes during the day, and
every two and a half to three hours at night.
sleep for two and half hours, get up, fill them with gas,
then go back to sleep for another two and a half hours
before I have to get up to do it again," says Larrivée.
"I've been doing that for 10 days now. It's a full-time
Blenkiron has been sharing pumping duties with his stepson
David. He bought the house with his wife four years ago
it was an ideal location on the banks of the Ottawa River.
knew that the water would come up in the spring, but we
never imagined anything close to this," said Blenkiron.
"We had it under pretty good control on the river
side, but then it crept in behind us.
Larrivée, Blenkiron has to constantly fill up his
pumps, or risk having them shutting down and the water
try to time it for every hour, hour and a half max. I
get up, come out, put on the hip-waders and fill them
up," said Blenkiron. "At the same time we're
real estate agents and life has to go on, so were counting
on the good graces of our clients to have patience with
residents of Leo Lane are also counting on a small army
of volunteers who have come from far and wide to help
protect their homes. They started showing up from Cumberland,
Rockland, Cheny, Plantagenet and other communities on
Thursday morning after seeing images of the flooding posted
fill sand bags used to help prevent the rising
Ottawa River from flooding the homes on Leo
Lane. Fred Sherwin/Photo
the volunteers who were on hand to help fill up sand bags
on Friday was Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Francis Drouin,
who praised the effort of hs fellow workers.
shows that in time of need the community really comes
together. Filling sand bags is a community effort, it's
not a one man, or a one woman show," said Drouin.
"I'm really happy to see so many people here... kids
and families. It's pretty amazing."
echoed the sentiments of the other Leo Lane residents
in thanking the volunteers, many of whom are compete strangers.
so blessed to have the outpouring of help from the community,"
said Desmarais. "We asked for a miracle and our friends,
family and strangers, people we've never met, came her
today to help us. These people are real heroes. They're
broke down in tears when he tried to express his gratitude
for the help they've received.
I could I would tell them, 'Thank you for very much',"
said Larrivée. "I didn't have a chance to
meet everyone and thank them personally. We were too busy
working. I wish I could thank each and everyone of them,
but hopefully they understand how grateful we are."
rain is expected to continue through the weekend, further
increasing the height of the river and threatening the
homes on Leo Lane. Larivée, Potvin and Blenkiron
know they have an uphill battle ahead of them, but they
aren't about to throw in the towel just yet. With the
continued help of friends, family and total strangers
they hope to keep the water at bay until it finally subsides.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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