Like most areas in northwestern Ontario, Sioux Lookout is dealing with severely high water levels, and now the municipality is taking action to protect its residents and property from flooding.
The Municipality's Manager of Public Works and Infrastructure, Jeff Hawley says in a prepared release they are advising residents to avoid the pedestrian bridge at the Travel Information Centre as both ends are blocked off.
Public Works Operations Manager, Mat Lelonde notes they are working with residents that are impacted by flooding in low-lying areas.
“Lakeshore Drive is being sandbagged, as the water is now level with the road,” adds Lelonde. “A section of Ethel Street is also closed, due to water over the road at the far east end. Sturgeon River Road had a small washout at the first culvert past the hotels. We have temporarily repaired the culvert and have both lanes open again. We continue to monitor it closely, but it will likely be closed later today.”
To date, there are no indications that highway access to the community will be cut off, as they have seen in other parts of Northwestern Ontario. Staff continue to monitor the situation and will take proactive measures where necessary.
The municipality is prepared to deal with increasing water levels, with a large number of sandbags on hand to respond to changing conditions. They have also been successful in securing additional sandbags for use by residents to protect their properties.
Residents wishing to pick up empty sandbags to protect their properties may visit their Public Works office from 7:30 a.m. until noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Sandbags can be filled at the Third Avenue ball diamonds, where sand will be available at no cost.
As of Thursday (May 19, 2022), Sioux Lookout has not yet been designated a flood area but is working with the province in the event that is issued. If the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing declares Sioux Lookout a flood area, individuals may be eligible for the province’s disaster mitigation relief funding, the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program.
The areas of Kenora and Red Lake have already declared local State of Emergencies. The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry has also issued flood warnings for Dryden, Kenora, and Red Lake areas.
Municipality staff is also monitoring the current waters at public boat launches, as the walleye season opens on Saturday (May 21, 2022).
Currently, docks are installed or will be installed by the end of day Friday, May 20th at the following locations: Boat Bay; Botham’s Bay; Deception Bay; Sturgeon River; and West Hudson.
The boat launches at Superior Junction is accessible, but the water is extremely high. The ramps are underwater. These locations are to be used at your own risk only.
The Five Mile boat launch is extremely unsafe at the moment and should not be used. The ramp is underwater and the secondary ramp is unavailable as the dock is currently tied up and floating in that area. Water has also entered the parking area.
Water levels at West Point Cove are also extremely high and the docks are in but barricaded off for safety reasons. Water levels have reached the end of the ramp, but it is still possible to launch from West Point Cove. Extreme caution is urged when using this location.
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout will advise when boat launch passes will be available. Once available, passes may be purchased at the front desk of the Recreation Centre or from various businesses in the area. A list of vendors can be found at siouxlookout.ca under Explore the Hub / Boating and Fishing.