UPDATED: Flooding in Jocko Point

Lake reaching critical 196.59m level; could trigger opening French River dams

Updated Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 9:30pm

As of this evening, the average level on Lake Nipissing increased to 196.53m, rising about 3cm since this morning. About 5-10mm of rain fell over parts of the watershed last night. Scattered showers are expected tomorrow and then a risk of thunderstorms for Saturday bringing total accumulated precipitation by Sunday between 20-30mm. View the HOURLY and 7 DAY forecasts for North Bay, and click here to view the current water level on Lake Nipissing in real time.

As of 5:15pm today, the North Bay gauge read 196.59* and at the French River Outlet the reading at 4:30pm was 196.46m. *The level peaked at 196.59m (North Bay) today likely due to the strong west wind.

*****IMPORTANT*****
Lake Nipissing levels are approaching 196.59m, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) assesses the risk as VERY HIGH that this level will be exceeded. In response, PSPC is preparing to use the remaining dams’ capacity at the outflow to the Lake, as required.  This would result in a significant increase in flows on the French River. Advanced notice will be provided prior to any increases in dam discharge. This will be discussed in further detail at tomorrow’s stakeholder conference call.

The MNRF has extended the Flood Warning until May 28
Click here to read latest bulletin issued May 22

A state of emergency has NOT been declared, and no evacuation orders have been issued at this time. However, we are preparing for the worst as the weather and wind continue to cause the lake to swell and threaten shoreline properties. We continue to build up Jocko Point Road to avoid evacuations, and will keep assessing conditions and providing daily updates.

A reminder that culverts are NFN property and are to be kept clear at all times. Residents should pile any debris in their yard (away from driveways and culverts).  Any deliberate blocking of culverts will not be tolerated and criminal charges can be laid on anyone found doing so. Clean-up of debris and used sandbags will be coordinated as part of a recovery plan once flood waters recede.

Sand and bags will continue to be supplied at the Jocko Point Fire Hall and at the end of Margaret Drive in Beaucage. VOLUNTEERS ARE STILL NEEDED TO FILL SAND BAGS to help build a supply for quick delivery to homes that may have new breaches. Miigwech (thank you) to everyone who has supported flood management efforts.

All inquiries and requests for assistance should be directed to:
Melvin McLeod, NFN Emergency Services Manager, at 705-493-6508


Updates & Resources

Canada Post is still delivering mail to community mailboxes, however any residents who are voluntarily evacuating should make arrangements to have their mail held or forwarded. A request can be submitted online through the Canada Post website, or call 1-866-607-6301.


Safety Measures

Housing Inventory

NFN Health Services staff were in Jocko Point on Saturday, May 18th from 2:30pm – 7pm and are returning on Thursday, May 23rd from 5pm – 7pm to complete a housing inventory (confirming names, contact information, # of occupants and vital medical information) for households located past the Fire Hall (and others in need) starting at 1415 Jocko Point Road.

Staff will visit a total of 87 households to ensure we know who might need help to evacuate should we need to declare an emergency.  Forms for people to provide their information were left at the community centre.

Union Gas – Flood Information

Union Gas Reps will be in Jocko Point TODAY (Thursday, May 23rd) to evaluate conditions and any potential issues with natural gas infrastructures (meters, service lines, etc.) If a gas meter is submerged or has the potential to be submerged under water, the meter will be shut off and locked until the area is safe.

If any natural gas equipment (furnace, hot water tank, fireplace etc.) have been damaged or sub merged under water the resident must have the unit serviced prior to regular operation of the unit.

Union Gas 24hr Emergency Number: 1-877-969-0999
Customer Service: 1-888-774-3111 (customers can call to have meter turned back on once it is safe to do so, if their meter is locked off)

Drinking Water

Residents whose drinking water may be compromised should seek an alternative source of drinking water until flood waters have receded and have their water source tested and demonstrated to be safe.

Water testing kits are now available at the Jocko Point Community Centre. Bottled water is also available at the Community Centre for anyone who is concerned that their well may have been comprised.

Note that water testing should only be done on wells that are NOT submerged. Please follow all instructions carefully and drop off samples to:
* North Bay-Parry Sound Health Unit – 345 Oak Street W
Monday – Thursday from 7:30am – 3:00pm
* West Nipissing Municipal Building – 225 Holditch
Wednesday only from 8:30am – 2:00pm

Testing reports will be mailed to residents when completed. People can call the Health Unit at 705-474-1400 for more information, or contact Carole at NFN Health Services at 705-753-3312.

The Environmental Health Officer for Indigenous Services Canada will be conducting assessments and testing wells once the water levels recede. Ray Alatalo can be reached at 705-671-0760 or ray.alatalo@canada.ca.

Electricity

If you are concerned about water entering your dwelling, you should shut off electrical panels. The Electrical Safety Authority will be waiving reconnection fees in regard to the restoration of electrical services in flood damaged areas.

For anyone who has already paid this fee, a full refund will be provided through the customer service centre at 1-877-372-7233. You may find the ESA’s press release here, which includes four important steps to follow if your property has flooded.

Septic Systems

During the Flood: Do not pump your septic tank during flooded or saturated drainfield conditions. Pumping it out could cause the tank to float out of the ground and may damage the inlet and outlet pipes. The best solution is to plug all drains in the basement and drastically reduce water use in the house.

After the Flood: Do not use the sewage system until water in the soil absorption field is lower than the water level around the house. Have your septic tank professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage. Click here for more information.

The North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority also has some good information about Sewage Systems during a flood.


The boat launches in Jocko Point and Beaucage are both closed until further notice.
West Nipissing has closed all municipal boat launches until further notice – read the May 23rd update.

BOATERS are urged to stay away from affected areas for your safety and to help protect already vulnerable shorelines in low-lying areas. There is a lot of dangerous debris in the lake (logs, docks, decks), and any ripples or wave action can cause additional damage to shoreline properties in low-lying areas.

OPP & MNRF will be out monitoring and there is a $200 fine for operating a boat in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property and you are responsible for the cost of any repairs or restitution for damages your boat causes. Please observe the un-posted speed limit of 10km/h (6 mph) within 30 meters (100 ft) from shore. Learn more about shoreline speed restrictions here: https://bit.ly/2Qc7tvx


Other Tips & Offers of Support

If you plan to leave your home or cottage, please bring your ID, medication, and any important documents and belongings with you, in case the situation worsens.

Health Unit: Information on what to do if your home has been flooded and how to clean up after a flood can be found at the Health Unit’s website at www.myhealthunit.ca.

North Bay & District Humane Society: If anyone is in need of pet supplies or requires assistance in housing companion animals due to evacuation, please do not hesitate to contact the Humane Society at 705-474-1251.

Did you know? A team of 2 people can fill 100 sand bags in 1 hour. 100 sand bags can create a wall that is 3 feet high and 50 feet long!


STAY SAFE!!! A reminder that shorelines and banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery and unstable, posing a serious hazard when combined with cold open water. Residents are advised to stay away from these areas, and to especially keep children and pets away from all watercourses and waterbodies for their safety.


Miigwech / Thank You

We greatly appreciate the assistance that volunteer firefighters, community members, students from various local schools, businesses and service clubs in the region are contributing to sandbagging efforts and providing meals, snacks and refreshments for volunteers and community members.

There are many individuals and businesses who deserve thanks and acknowledgement for supporting Jocko Point and Beaucage residents through this difficult time. At this time, it’s hard to keep track of them all, but please know that your generous support is very much appreciated. Chi-Miigwech (thank you very much!)

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