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Flooding Frustrations....

Posted by tdunford z5 ONTARIO ( on
Thu, Jul 22, 04 at 9:42

During the recent flooding here in Peterborough, Ontario, the soil got so saturated that it could no longer hold the roots of my Golden Harvest apple tree, and it toppled under the weight of the fruit. The arborist was unable to upright it, saying it was too old and would never survive the root damage. To top it all off, it fell on our butterfly garden that we planted this year, breaking all the plants off at the ground. This tree was the last tree of an orchard that existed on the propery prior to the neighbourhood being built in the 50's, so it's a very sad sight to many of the neighbours who have lived here for 30-40 years.

All things considered though, we were EXTREMELY lucky compared to so many people here. It's so sad and devastating to drive down the city streets and see people's possessions piled at the side of the street, in some cases it appears the pile of damged and sewage contaminated items is as large as the house and must be everything the family owned, and this goes on for blocks and blocks all over the city. It certainly puts a lot of things into perspective. Many of these people will not receive insurance money either because the water ran in through windows and any other openings and not through the drains and sewers!! The cities of Toronto and Oshawa (and probably more) have sent garbage trucks and people to help witht he cleanup, but I'm sure it will take weeks and weeks to remove it all. Then the rebuilding can begin. Some houses are now condemned because the water damaged the foundations beyond repair - at least one of these families has been told that the flooding was an "act of God" and therefore not eligible for insurance.

Provincial funding came through yesterday ($5 million to start with), but most of this money will go businesses that were severely damaged in the downtown core and some to families with incomes less than $24000, but once again the working poor are left to fend for themselves unless further funding comes through. City council was to meet last night to declare the city a disaster area, a technicality that will make more funding available. A week later we are still under a State of Emergency. The local Loblaws store had severe water damage and had to throw out 1.5 million in inventory. They are now reopened, but must run 4 HUGE dehumidifiers at a cost of $5000 per day each.

The local foodbank lost EVERYTHING!! They have bins set up at locations all accross the city for donations and were able to reopen yesterday.

With more rain and thunderstorms predicted for today, we are wondering when it will all end.....

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Flooding Frustrations....

Hoping you don't get any further damage with the predicted rains in the forcast. At the lower portion of my parents west end street the extent of the sewage damage to one family home is so great that they have already been advised that their family home must be torn down and rebuilt. Retaining walls on other properties collapsed and further flooded out adjoining properties that already had basements full of water. Will be heading over on Friday to see how we can help.

RE: Flooding Frustrations....

Sorry about your tree.

I'm in Peterborough, too.
For a while it was like living in a war zone, with sirens going off every once in a while, choppers flying over the house (government types, media, and an MOE study), news vehicles etc.
On the main drag I saw vegetation wrapped around traffic light poles like seaweed around a wharf after the tide receeds.

I was fairly lucky, in that I didn't have much stuff in the basement that was damaged by what little water got in. My foundation parging did develop some new and interesting cracks but I was able to get a structural engineer to assure me that it wasn't a major concern (old house, anyway). But now I've got a nasty musty smell down there that I just can't get rid of. But compared to those poor souls whose lives are currently sitting on their front lawn, I'm very fortunate.

Heard on the radio today that the Mennonites are sending 90 people up from Waterloo (some sort of volunteer disaster group) and that a Buddist group is also sending people. I think that sort of thing just makes one want to roll up ones sleeves and pitch in, too. I got the foodbank on my list for this afternoon.

I lost some stuff in the garden, but it would seem that the plants in most people's gardens stood up to this weather better than their houses! A clematis got torn down and drowned and the more delicate stuff trampled by heavy rains. Everything looks dreary and floppy, but the slugs and most of the weeds are happy. I think it's stopped raining just long enough to mow the mushroom farm - err, I mean the lawn.

I would really really like to see a sunny, breezy day. Let's hope this weekend brings some relief. Without even a little bit of wind we're now also suffering from heat, extreme humidity and smog. (shortly to be followed by a mid-summer mosquito population explosion, I'm sure)


RE: Flooding Frustrations....

Hi Chris...good to see another Peterborough person here. I'm on Crawford Drive, and you're right, it's like a war zone. I'm glad the helicopters have stopped now, and they are starting to pick up the garbage in this area this week, so things are beginning to return to normal - if that's possible. I saw your website and your pictures are wonderful - what great work you have done.


RE: Flooding Frustrations....

oh, goodie, now it's raining again.
I've been by Crawford drive and it's just horrible. Not only piles of worldly possessions on the curb, but it looks like a whole row of houses lost the first eight feet or so of front yard! It's like the soil just slid away and washed down the street. Is your house one of those?? I've never seen anything like it, except maybe in earthquake footage.

I've got a liatris here, if you want it, for your butterfly garden restoration. Email me at: chris (at) if you want it. I should be around this weekend.


RE: Flooding Frustrations....

My sympathies to all you folks in Peterborough. I live several hours north of you and we too had some flooding (very minor by comparison). I live on a river which rose about 4 ft. but not any real damage was done and we were told not to take boats out in case a dam upstream gave away. I wish my neighbours could read your various posts as many of them are doing a lot of whining. Your stories tell a much more human side compared with what the media gives us. I hope you and everyone else in the city soon get your lives back in order. My son went to school for 4 years in P. and I had a favourite aunt and uncle (now deceased) who lived there for many years so I visited the city quite often. Good luck to all of you.

RE: Flooding Frustrations....

If anyone is interested, I have posted pics of the Peterborough Flooding and aftermath in my album at:

Here is a link that might be useful: My photo page

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