PETAWAWA – The military was called in to help at home Monday, building a sandbag wall to protect the Petawawa water treatment plant.About a dozen members of the Royal Canadian Dragoons and three volunteers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, went to work building a five row high sandbag wall to keep the Ottawa River at bay. Members of the Petawawa public works department also worked to create a sand berm across the back end of the parking lot.The water treatment plant supplies water to residents of both the town and Garrison Petawawa, so the goal was to protect the treated water source, explained Brad Sweet, senior operations manager for the Ontario Clean Water Agency. He’s worked at the plant for 27 years and he doesn’t remember ever seeing the Ottawa River as high was it was Monday, with the level to expected to rise until it peaks possibly Thursday. He added it was much higher than 2017.Sgt. Jeremy Selway of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, said many of the soldiers in the group live on the garrison, in the town or surrounding communities and understand the importance of clean water so they were happy to help in this way.The Town of Petawawa declared a state of emergency on April 28 associated with the increased potential for additional flood water conditions in the town. Centennial Park was already closed April 26 because it was flooded to the extremely high level of the Petawawa River and the Petawawa Point Beach was under water because of the level of the Ottawa River. On Monday, the shear force of the river was evident as the banks on either side of the Petawawa River Bridge, which joins the town and garrison, showed signs of erosion. Officials from the County of Renfrew public works department were on hand monitoring the situation.
The raging Petawawa River is causing erosion of the bank next to the Petawawa River Bridge on Petawawa Boulevard. This was the condition of the slope as of about 3 p.m. April 29. The situation was being monitored closely by the County of Renfrew public works department.
Tina Peplinskie / Observer and News
The town is continuing to monitor the situation. By issuing an emergency declaration, the town has the ability, if required, to seek other resources and supports and can enact other measures not available without such declaration.For safety purposes, all residents should continue to monitor weather conditions and check for updated messages and exercise extreme caution around fast moving water. Residents should take appropriate precautions to protect their property and provide for their own safety.Property owners who require sandbags can contact the public works department at 613-687-5536 during business hours or 1-855-539-7610 after hours. Sand is available at Risto Road, Southshore Drive, Tall Pines Road, end of Shamess Road, Deer Run Trail and Melody Trail Road. If other locations are required please advise public works.Area parks, Centennial Park and Petawawa Point, are experiencing cresting waters and high levels of flow. Both these parks are closed to public access. Residents and visitors are advised to refrain from entering Centennial Park and Petawawa Point.The municipality has closed Rantz Road from civic addresses 67-268 and local traffic only is permitted on River Drive.TPeplinskie@postmedia.comTwitter.com/TPeplinskie