Heavy rains hammer Pontiac’s road network

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Heavy rains hammer Pontiac’s road network

Taylor Clark

Local Journalism Initiative

MRC PONTIAC – Although some areas saw up to 85 millimetres of rain, MRC Pontiac’s public and civil security coordinator said the heavy rainfall was nothing out of the ordinary.  “I would say it’s all probably a little above average, but we’re not talking anywhere near the flood levels we have had, even in the spring,” commented Julien Gagnon.

For the week of June 17, Gagnon reported that water levels at Fort-Coulogne rose by about 25 centimetres but quickly began to fall. The increase was insignificant compared to the levels in April, when the water increased almost a full metre, said Gagnon.

“The water that we can get in rainfall doesn’t compare to the water that comes down from the north in the spring with the spring runoff,” Gagnon added. “We’re only at a 20 % effect due to this rain, compared to what we can get in the spring.”

While the higher-than-average rainfall presented no emergency concern for water levels in the rivers, circumstances were different on land. Jason Durand, the MRC’s Director of Land Use Planning and Environment, reports heavy damage to many local roads. “We’ve got a lot of washouts, and that’s giving us a lot of trouble,” he said.

Particularly bad were two washouts, back-to-back, on Jim’s Lake Road, one of the most important bush roads up into the Pontiac’s TNO. The MRC expects to have two culverts replaced within a week

Beyond Jim’s Lake Road, Bryson Lake Road suffered several major washouts, cutting off access to the Bryson Lake Lodge and four private cottages. The Lodge’s owner, Denis LeBrun, reports “We were able to fix the main road coming into our lodge. That took two days to temporarily repair the holes.” But past the lodge were seven sizeable washouts, blocking access to private cottages and three of the lodge’s own 15 cottages.

“At this point, we’re trying to fix it ourselves. We’ll try to make it passable but there’s going to be a lot of culverts that will need to be repaired and replaced,” added LeBrun.  Without access to these three cottages, the lodge would be out a minimum of $45,000, on top of the costs to repair the road.  LeBrun said he had not seen such destruction in his 31 years of owning the outfitters.

“We are an outfitting business. We rent out cottages. We’re not a road construction company. We don’t build roads … There [are] no outfitters that I know that have a backhoe, a tandem, a grader, and a loader. We have more construction company equipment, but we’re really renting cottages for fishing.”