Homeowners try to shore up defences on Moorhead in Fitzroy Harbour.
James Bagnall / Postmedia
Volunteers at Fitzroy Harbour put out a desperate plea Saturday, saying they needed more help and supplies quickly as rising floodwaters threatened up to 60 houses along the Ottawa River.“We are really struggling down here,” said Fitzroy Harbour flood relief captain Patrick Garbutt, saying people are exhausted and racing to save their homes.Volunteer Britta Gerwin, who came up to help from North Gower, said elderly residents, pregnant women and small children were among those helping to fill sandbags and build walls in an attempt to save houses. With floodwaters already above 2017 levels, the window is closing to protect houses in the area of Moorhead Drive, said Garbutt.The call for volunteer help did get a swift response, however. Later Saturday, dozens of people were lined up at a sandbagging station along Moorhead.
Dozens lined up at sandbagging station along Moorhead Drive on Saturday, April 27, 2019 after a call went out for volunteer help in Fitzroy Harbour. James Bagnall/Postmedia
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Garbutt noted that members of the military, who are assisting with the flood in Ottawa, had not been to Fitzroy Harbour.Residents in the area, about 50 km west of Ottawa, also received a notice from Ontario Power Generation that it would be increasing the flow of water from the Chenaux Generating Station north of Renfrew, with plans to open additional spillway gates at Portage-du-Fort on Saturday.“These gates are expected to remain open until water levels decrease.”A spokesperson for Ontario Power Generation said the increase will not have a significant impact on water levels.Still, levels of anxiety and fatigue were clear among volunteers at Fitzroy Harbour — similar to other communities along the Ottawa River — Saturday as they watched floodwaters continue to rise.“Emotionally and physically depleted villagers are in dire need of relief as the window for saving their homes closes hourly,” Gerwin wrote in a press release. “They are desperately in need of volunteers and community champions to assist with many facets of disaster management with tasks ranging from tying and laying bags around homes with hip waders.”
From left are River Surf Ottawa-Gatineau crew members Nasser Yassine, Michael Billinger, Tim Stiles and Brook Simpson. They were scheduled to do a river surf competition on Saturday, April 27, 2019, but postponed to put their talents to good use at Fitzroy Harbour. James Bagnall/Postmedia
James Bagnall /
Gerwin said there are shortages of rubber boots and hip waders, generators, water pumps and plastic sheeting. The community is also in need of elevated vehicles able to drive through submersed streets and driveways, she said.“People who would like to assist in the relief efforts are asked to bring weather appropriate layered attire, gloves, rubber boots and spades. Volunteers are required from dawn through dusk until the imminent danger from the two anticipated water crests recede.”Victims requiring assistance can go to the Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Centre at 262 Len Purcell Dr.ALSO IN THE NEWS: Floods: Ottawa, Gatineau dodge a weather bullet, but flood levels continue to riseIn Constance Bay, students cut class — to help sandbagBritannia area braces as water levels keep rising