View all Articles & Archives

Brought to you by Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fertile farmland is at risk because of flood fears

Fertile farmland is at risk because of flood fears.

The fertile farms of Holland Marsh are just one big rainfall away from a $200 million disaster that could make them the "New Orleans of the north," a local official warns.

Art Janse, drainage superintendent for Bradford West Gwillimbury, said the area's system of canals and dikes just isn't capable of withstanding a big storm.

"There's a huge disaster just waiting to happen," Janse said yesterday, standing on the bank of one of the canals that keep water from overflowing into nearby low-lying farms north of Newmarket — often called the breadbasket of Ontario.

"If we'd gotten another 2-inch rainfall in the middle of March, it would have flooded the marsh and wiped out this year's crops."

That, he said, would cause an $84 million loss to local farmers and businesses, growing to $200 million as the impact spread to associated food processors, transportation companies and higher vegetable costs across the province.

"We're in for a lot of grief," said Janse, 68, who retired three years ago but has remained on the job on contract. "And it's not just the marsh. It would flood Highway 400 for at least a week."

Nearly 22,000 hectares of higher ground drain into the Holland Marsh area. All that keeps runoff from flooding the area are 28 kilometres of canals and earthen dikes.

Janse has lived along the canals since he was 11 and has been advocating the construction of a new canal system since 1993, when a study showed the canals to be heavy with sediment and sludge. Some areas have since filled in completely.

"It's all fallen on deaf ears," he said. "I'm just waiting for a disaster.

"This spring, all the factors were perfect for a real disaster.... The whole canal system would have maxed out."

Mayor Frank Jonkman shares Janse's fears.

But both men say they've been stymied by government red tape in their efforts to protect the valuable farmland.

"If we can't get started, we'll never get finished," Jonkman said. "One breach of the dike and we wouldn't be able to stop it until Lake Simcoe finished draining into it."

Janse explained that if surrounding lands were saturated with water and a heavy rainstorm was to strike when the silt-filled canals were unable to handle the torrent, the overflow would pour into nearby floodplain lands until it got higher than dikes. Then it would pour into the 2,800 hectares of marsh farmlands.

"That could take as little as five hours to fill 'er up if it broke the dikes at more than one spot," Janse said last night.

New Orleans suffered billions of dollars in damage last August when high water whipped by Hurricane Katrina breached an earthen dike and flooded the low-lying Louisiana city.

Al Shaw, an aquatic biologist and environmental consultant who has studied the Bradford canals, said they are ripe for a flood.

"There are portions of those canals you can walk across," Shaw said last night. "Their main purpose is to keep water from the slopes from going into the Holland Marsh.

"They cannot possibly do the job that they're designed to do if they're filled (with sediment)," he said.

"Under the right circumstances, there would be considerable damage."

The canals were last dredged in 1955, a year after Hurricane Hazel devastated southern Ontario and flooded the marsh. The effects on the marsh weren't as bad then, because the storm struck in the fall, after growing season.

At that time, the canals were widened and made deeper. But that eliminated a buffer between the roads atop the dikes and the canals, an issue that resurfaced in February after a mother and her 4-year-old son drowned when their car went into the canal.

"It's the most productive land in Ontario and among the best in Canada," Janse said. "If you just fill it full of carrots and onions, it can produce half of what this nation consumes in a year.

"But the problem is that nobody seems to care about it."

It would take $14 million and between five and seven years to build new canals, using soil removed to fill in the old ones. Janse said that in the long run, that's more economical than trying to scoop out the existing canals.

A full environmental assessment of the area, ordered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is expected to be completed in the coming months.

Janse said it is only the latest in a string of studies commissioned on the canals.

"We've been stuck in red tape for too long," he said.

"And the mayor and the town are more concerned about development and building new sewers for housing.

"Everybody thinks everybody else should foot the bill."


Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 09.17
nike air max, gucci handbags, red bottom shoes, michael kors handbags, ugg boots clearance, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, cheap oakley sunglasses, tory burch outlet online, burberry outlet online, ray ban outlet, louis vuitton handbags, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, prada handbags, ugg australia, michael kors outlet, replica watches, christian louboutin outlet, ugg outlet, christian louboutin, polo ralph lauren, louis vuitton outlet, cheap ugg boots outlet, oakley sunglasses, oakley vault, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, nike air max, tiffany jewelry, prada outlet, cheap ugg boots, michael kors outlet online sale, replica watches, nike free, michael kors outlet online, longchamp outlet online, longchamp handbags, tiffany and co, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet store, nike outlet, jordan shoes

7:25 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

michael kors uk, michael kors outlet online, ray ban uk, scarpe hogan, ray ban pas cher, lacoste pas cher, coach purses, ralph lauren pas cher, burberry pas cher, lululemon outlet online, hollister, hermes pas cher, nike roshe run, coach outlet, nike blazer pas cher, tn pas cher, longchamp, hollister uk, new balance pas cher, louboutin, chanel handbags, kate spade outlet, michael kors, vans pas cher, north face, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, true religion outlet, air jordan, nike air max, north face pas cher, longchamp pas cher, true religion jeans, nike free pas cher, true religion, air max pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, timberland pas cher, kate spade outlet online, guess pas cher, coach outlet, converse pas cher, coach outlet store online, michael kors canada, nike air force

7:28 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike free, nike air max, reebok shoes, ghd, wedding dresses, celine handbags, beats headphones, nfl jerseys, air max, jimmy choo shoes, mac cosmetics, hollister, mcm handbags, north face jackets, abercrombie and fitch, vans outlet, baseball bats, mont blanc pens, asics shoes, nike air max, ralph lauren uk, longchamp, giuseppe zanotti, p90x workout, nike trainers, insanity workout, instyler ionic styler, soccer jerseys, lululemon outlet, abercrombie and fitch, north face jackets, herve leger, ferragamo shoes, valentino shoes, birkin bag, nike roshe, mulberry uk, nike air huarache, chi flat iron, hollister clothing store, nike roshe, bottega veneta, soccer shoes, babyliss, new balance outlet

7:30 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

air max, pandora uk, coach outlet, ugg soldes, replica watches, toms outlet, vans, ray ban, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, converse, supra shoes, karen millen, hollister canada, marc jacobs handbags, louis vuitton pas cher, doke gabbana outlet, ugg boots, links of london uk, swarovski jewelry, ugg, iphone case, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, thomas sabo uk, louis vuitton uk, timberland boots, pandora jewelry, juicy couture, uggs canada, converse shoes, louboutin, swarovski uk, oakley, sac lancel, montre femme, louis vuitton canada, abercrombie, ralph lauren, sac louis vuitton, gucci, michael kors handbags, juicy couture outlet, ugg, pandora charms, wedding dress
ninest123 09.17

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

coach outlet online
michael kors outlet
tiffany and co jewellery
cheap oakley sunglasses
michael kors handbags
replica christian louboutin
discount oakley sunglasses
christian louboutin shoes
michael kors handbags clearance
nike dunks
nfl jerseys
Michael Kors Outlet Store
michael kors outlet online
fitflop sandals
jordan retro
oakley sunglasses,oakley outlet sunglasses
cheap jordan shoes
air jordans,cheap air jordans,air jordan shoes,air jordan 11,air jordan 13,air jordan 6,air jordan 4
michael kors handbags,michael kors handbags clearance,michael kors clearance
white huaraches
air huarache shoes
cheap oakley sunglasses
tiffany and co outlet
true religion sale
ralph lauren online
tiffany jewelry
nfl jerseys
nike zoom kobe

8:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home