With the flooding disaster of 2018 still fresh in the minds of people in Chatham-Kent, the recent ice jam and dike breech definitely raised some heart rates along with the waterway.
Knowing what can happen when there is an ice jam downriver, municipal officials were quick to react and declare a state of emergency so staff had the authority to act quickly should the dikes fail and large-scale flooding occur.
From the start, Mayor Darrin Canniff communicated with the public often and with up-to-date facts, put staff and equipment in place in the areas of concern for a breech, and let adjacent property owners know the levy was leaking in spots.
In downtown Chatham along the river, emergency responders closed off areas of flooding to cars and the public as soon as possible.
Thankfully, a disaster was averted for most areas and the Thames receded enough to make most of us breathe a sigh of relief.
And that’s how you do it – be prepared to act, act authoritatively and communicate those actions to the public. Boom. Done.
Our thanks go to the mayor, municipal staff, our first responders and the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority officials who worked hard to make sure our people and property stayed safe.
With rain expected in the forecast this week, the municipality is still being cautious, and rightly so. While the Thames is slowly returning to normal levels, rain can still cause serious problems while ice continues to clog parts of the river.
We may call out the municipality when we think it’s warranted, but we will also pat council and staff on the back for a job well done – and this is one of those cases of a job well done.
Now if only the sun would shine, the ice melt and the rain go away…