Floods across Canada are significantly impacting cottagers

Published: May 11, 2018

flooding Photo by Greenseas/Shutterstock

While most are celebrating the arrival of warm spring days, rising temperatures have resulted in heartbreak for cottage owners across Canada.

Following a long winter, the rapid climb in temperatures has contributed to more runoff than usual, with high water levels and intense flooding occurring across the country. With evacuations underway, the effect on some cottage owners has been catastrophic. Here is just some of the damage that has already been reported.

Quebec man dies while checking on his cottage property

Montreal resident Pierre Dugas, 70, died after setting out in his canoe to check on his cottage property in Saint-Alexis-des-Monts. His cottage neighbour, André Lamontagne, with whom he’d developed a close relationship over the last 26 years, discovered his body.

“He was the best person I knew,” Lamontagne told the CBC, noting that the two frequently helped one another with cottage repairs. “He had a big heart and was always helping others.”

Located about 140 kilometres northeast of Montreal, around 20 residences in the area have suffered damage, with the main road (Highway 349) closing due to flooding.

Family cottages are destroyed by rising floodwaters in Grand Lake, New Brunswick

After surviving historic water levels in both 1973 and 2008, one family’s cottage finally succumbed to this year’s floods. Jerry McFarland’s cottage, which had been cherished for nearly half a century, was knocked off its foundation and torn apart by floodwaters and wind.

In 2008, McFarland raised the cottage by 18 inches better withstand flooding, which is practically an annual event in central New Brunswick.

“I was sure that I would never get flooded,” McFarland told the Chronicle Herald. “But nothing like this has been recorded before in our history.”

Neighbouring cottage properties have also been damaged and in some cases destroyed, with decks spotted floating in the lake, local roads washed out, and beaches ruined.

The Red Cross has launched a fundraising campaign to help New Brunswick victims, including the more than 1,150 who have evacuated their homes. According to Premier Brian Gallant, the province is also working to provide financial assistance for recreational property owners affected by the floods.

Cottagers in northern British Columbia prepare for evacuation orders

Waters at Cluculz Lake, west of Prince George, started to rise rapidly when the ice went off the lake on May 1. One local business has had to close its door, as the waters began to work their way to the area’s cabins.

Deanna Kyncl, co-owner of the Cabin Restaurant and General Store, said they plans to begin sandbagging around the property, which is already impassable.

Across most of B.C., rivers and lakes have been rising quickly due to an unusually high snowpack level, which has measured up to 264 per cent higher than normal. According to the River Forecast Centre, the high water levels were being caused by rapid snowmelt from the Nechako Plateau.

Read this story about flood plain mapping from the magazine.

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