A number of residents north of the Kenora by-pass have been affected by the increasing water levels, forcing some to evacuate and others to stay home to protect their property.
Essex Road resident Lyle Sutherland and his family did what they could to protect their rental home, but eventually lost the battle on May 10, 2022, as their home was flooded and became unliveable.
“Thankfully enough the next day we were able to find lodging at Hidden Trail Resort up the road. Karen and Rob were amazing and opened up a cabin early for us to stay in,” says Sutherland in an email to KenoraOnline on May 19, 2022.
Record high levels on Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River have caused overland flooding on the east side of Black Sturgeon Lake in the Essex, Coker, East Melick, and School Road areas.
To make matters worse for Sutherland and his family, on Thursday (May 12, 2022), School Road was washed out and undrivable, therefore trapping the family at the Hidden Trail Resort.
Thankfully after a few days, the family was able to find a place to stay at a friend's house on Hidden Trail.
“We are currently caring for her dogs out here as she is in Greece until the end of the month. Although we are very thankful to have shelter out here the situation is still very unsettling, and access remains to be determined,” adds Sutherland.
In his email to KenoraOnline Sutherland did share his frustration with the city’s decision to close the road, which trapped his family.
“People are able to cross the high water there but the road is becoming very damaged and may be impassable soon. I understand the city's decision to close the road with safety in mind, but feel the road can be repaired as it was at the start of East Melick Road.”
Sutherland concluded his email by showing a great deal of gratitude for his neighbours that have helped him and his family through this tough time.
“This situation has brought out the best in everyone and brought us closer out here as a community. I have met countless smiling people on the roads who are always ready to lend a hand!”
If the water recedes he is hoping to move his things out of the rental home by the end of the month.
On Friday (May 20, 2022), crews worked to build up the intersection of the East Melick and Essex Road intersection, to allow some residents to go home that night.
Upon completion the city will focus on the flooded area of East Melick Road that is 500m north of Bells Point Road, similar efforts will be made to raise the roadway to a safe level as has been completed near the Essex Road intersection.
Weather and water levels permitting, this work will take approximately one week.
Last week, city crews worked at building up Anderson Branch Road to protect it from further washouts and flooding.