Deer Lake braces for flooding - Residents concerned about the effects after gates at the Main Dam are opened

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The Main Dam in Deer Lake Friday morning

By Paul Hutchings


The sand has disappeared again at the beach after Deer Lake Power opened several gates in the Main Dam to relieve high water levels on Grand Lake.

The town’s residents made it a spectator affair — between 12 and 15 vehicles drove up the muddy dirt road to watch the water pour out of the dam’s doors.

Within three hours there was a noticeable difference in the water level of the Humber River. The RV Park is flooding again after being underwater about three weeks ago due to heavy rains. Water is also creeping up towards homes on Nicholsville Road and the powerhouse looks a little lower.

Towns downstream are preparing for a weekend of possible flooding.

Steady Brook officials have placed their fire department on alert and have sent out mass emails to residents to share information. Pasadena’s emergency services could be on alert, and officials say they are keeping an eye on the beach and other low-lying areas. Three weeks ago a beach restaurant in Pasadena was  surrounded by water, and could be again this weekend.

At the Main Dam Friday morning, visiting residents expressed concern over the excess water being released, but couldn’t deny the fact that what they were seeing was, in the words of one resident, “pretty cool.”

“I hadn’t seen this before,” said Bobbi-Jo Parsons of Deer Lake.

“There’s going to be a lot of water, and I’m wondering how it will affect everything, I’m glad I live on higher ground.”

Others wondered how it would affect specific areas.

“This could be a problem for Nicholsville. I have a friend there,” said Clint Bridger, also of Deer Lake.

“I never saw the water this high before and I understand why they are doing this. If they didn’t, it would breach the dam.”

Deer Lake Power officials say a late spring runoff, combined with heavy rains in recent weeks, forced them to open three doors on the

80-year-old dam. They could be open for up to a week to allow water levels to drop.

Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball said the town staff visited 85 homeowners Thursday to notify them of flooding risks. On Friday, he met with the fire and emergency services division of the Department of Municipal Affairs and was assessing the rising water levels.

Municipalities NL put out notices that the Humber Red Cross was on alert for the area.

Humber MHA Dwight Ball said he was also monitoring the situation and was in contact with government agencies, which are also monitoring the situation.

The Western Star

Organizations: Department of Municipal Affairs

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Nicholsville Road, Pasadena Humber River Steady Brook Western Star

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