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Northern Ont. town declares emergency due to flooding

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After declaring a state of emergency Friday afternoon as Murdoch Creek spilled over its banks, municipal officials in Kirkland Lake say the situation has "significantly improved."

A map of the flooding in the Town of Kirkland Lake as of April 12, 2024. (Supplied/Town of Kirkland Lake)

The initial declaration was made around 4. p.m. on April 12. The town said that Murdoch Creek was overflowing and causing the sanitary system to overload.

"The location of the emergency starts at 1 Dunfield Road travelling west then southwest to Brookbank Avenue and Carter Avenue flowing southerly and expanding through the Town of Kirkland Lake," read the initial news release.

"This area may be expanded over time depending on deteriorating conditions."

Town Mayor Stacy Wight told CTV News that no senior’s homes are directly in the path of the flooding but officials are continuing to monitor the situation.

"There are several areas of town that are affected at this time. I don't know what percentage of the town," said Wright.

"But there are definitely pockets of the community that are seeing above-average water levels, obviously covering roads and into basements and there is definitely people severely affected by this weather."

An undated photo of Kirkland Lake Mayor Stacy Wright. (Supplied/Town of Kirkland Lake)

Some relief

“As the day progresses, the Kirkland Lake community sees a positive shift in the water levels offering hope and relief to affected areas,” said the town in a statement, at about 2 p.m. on Saturday.

In an update earlier on Saturday, the town said that water levels at lift stations have subsided and the system was effectively managing flow.

"The snowfall during the night has added an additional layer of complexity to the situation," town officials said.

"This has necessitated increased caution, as road conditions may be further compromised by the combination of snowmelt and flooding."

The town is working with Emergency Management Ontario in case additional support is required.

"Throughout the night, the dedicated Roads Department staff worked tirelessly to install a rock wall to safeguard roads from erosion and damage caused by flooding," reads the Saturday morning update.

As of 2 p.m., municipal staff were still engaged in installing rock walls in some areas.

Road closures

Flooding has closed several local roadways but access to the community centre remains available via the intersection of Balsam and Calbeck Avenues.

As of 2 p.m. on Saturday, the city said the only municipal roadway that remains closed is Allen Avenue south of Fifth.

Hanna Road at Otto Road, Otto Road 1 towards Otto Road 2, Otto Road 2 at Highway 11, Toggenenberg Trail Road and Wild Rose Road are all closed as of 2 p.m. Saturday, according to the Ontario 511 Traveller Information Service.

Coming together

The town advised that throughout Friday into Saturday affected residents received support from the fire department, which ensured those who needed assistance were accommodated.

Wright told CTV News that fire officials were going door-to-door to check on people in the affected area.

"Their ongoing efforts provide crucial support and assistance to those in need during this challenging time," said town officials.

"Individuals without alternative housing were provided with overnight lodging for their safety and comfort."

A viewer photo submitted on April 12, 2024 showing the high water levels and flooding in Kirkland Lake, Ont. (Supplied/Cherie Duffield)

Locals have shared videos of people canoeing down flooded streets in the town and photos of the high water levels.

"We urge residents to exercise caution and avoid rivers and streams during this period of heightened water levels. Please continue to stay away from affected areas as town crews monitor these areas," said the town.

Please continue to monitor your homes and reach out to neighbours who may require assistance."

The town is providing sandbags to those affected by the flooding.

Sandbags can still be picked up at 105 Government Road West, they are no longer available at the previous location on Dunfield Road.

"Staff are on site filling sandbags and able to assist loading to vehicles," the town said in a social media post.

As of Saturday afternoon, no boil water advisory has been issued for the Town of Kirkland Lake and officials with the township said there is no damage to the town’s water distribution systems or their infrastructure.

"Despite this progress, residents are urged to continue conserving water usage to essential needs only," the town said in a news release.

"This measure aims to alleviate pressure on the wastewater system, ensuring its functionality during this recovery period."

If residents are asked to evacuate, the town has set up a registration system at the Royal Canadian Legion where temporary lodging can be made available.

The town continues to advise residents to call 911 in any emergency and those affected by the following who need information or help can call 705-567-3400 ext. 2.

"As the community continues to navigate through this situation, the unwavering support and cooperation from residents, local businesses, municipal services and emergency responders are deeply appreciated," said the town.

Town officials said the next schedule news release and update will be issued at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Several other nearby municipalities have also declared a state of emergency.

With files from CTVNorthernOntario.ca journalist Ian Campbell

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