Canadian military hard at work along Bayview Dr as 1RCR from Petawawa beginning assisting with sandbagging in Constance Bay.
Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia
Canadian Forces personnel will be sent to three main locations in the Ottawa area to deal with flooding and all 400 military members are expected to be place by Friday, says the acting commander of the joint task force responding to the emergency.Lt. Col. Mike Notaro, acting commander of Joint Task Force Central, which is responsible for military operations in Ontario, said troops are operating in Constance Bay already and others will be sent to the Britannia area as well as to the Morin Road area.Some soldiers are located at the Connaught Range but are expected to be in place by late Friday.“Right now it looks like we’ll be filling sand bags and placing them,” Notaro said in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen.The military personnel from Garrison Petawawa are operating light armoured vehicles which are more than capable of traversing flooded areas. “We have a sandbagging machine to help us speed up the filling of the sandbags,” Notaro added.The first soldiers were sent Thursday night to conduct a reconnaissance of the area and determine, in conjunction with provincial emergency staff and other government officials, what might be needed. The bulk of the military personnel started arriving Friday morning.“We’ve been tracking closely in Ontario what was happening in Atlantic Canada and Quebec so we actually had our troops at a higher posture ready to respond if any happened,” Notaro explained.Two hundred soldiers have already been sent to Constance Bay, he added.“We have naval reserve in Ontario with boats ready to go if we require them,” Notaro added. “Right now we haven’t seen that requirement but they’re on call. We also have assets from the Royal Canadian Air Force.”The initial response is made up of military personnel from the Army’s Immediate Reaction Unit which is based in Petawawa.Because sandbagging is heavy work, the military is preparing reserve soldiers to eventually fill that role and give others a break. “We’re preparing our reserve soldiers out of 33 Brigade in Ottawa to get some of those guys ready to go so they can replace some of our reg force soldiers,” Notaro said.The Canadian Forces is also keeping in close contact with provincial officials in case there are other areas that need assistance.“If there is a request for assistance from those areas we remain postured that we can react to anything in the province right now,” Notaro said. “We’re quite comfortable and confident in what we see now that we’re more than capable to provide that support to the province of Ontario.”