Deer Lake residents brace for flooding with plan to open Main Dam doors

Paul
Paul Hutchings
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Water is seen rushing through Deer Lake’s Main Dam when the doors were opened in 2013. — Star file photo

Residents will be eying water levels if Deer Lake Power opens at least one of the doors of the lake’s Main Dam Tuesday morning.

Last year the doors had to be opened due to high levels in the Grand Lake, which resulted in various forms of flooding around the town.

Some homeowners reported water in their basements and Deer Lake’s beach disappeared under the excess water for more than a week.

Jim Moss lives on Nicholsville Road directly next door to the bridge that spans the Humber River.

He saw water creep up to his house last year when the dam’s doors were opened.

Fortunately the senior managed to escape any costly damage, but his ice fishing shed and several other items had to be moved off his property and back to the water after the flooding receded.

Moss said extra ice on the river and the lake may actually make the runoff less damaging.

“We haven’t had ice this thick in a long time,” he said.

“I won’t be using my smelt shack any time soon — it’s froze in on me. We have three feet of ice out there that’s breaking away from the shoreline. I think it might have (the most effect) from Reidville down, around Junction Brook maybe.”

Related video: Opening the flood gates of Deer Lake's dam in May 2013

Last year, a campsite on the lake was completely underwater and the levels were extremely high up onto the overpass.

A walk along the beach trail in early May found Gene Simms of Nicholsville Road surveying the levels.

Simms’ back yard borders the beach area and he said he’s particularly worried this year about what may happen.

“They’re doing this early this year, and they have all that ice out there,” said Simms.

“If enough water gets under that ice and pushes it up onto our properties here, that’s going to be a major problem for a lot of us.”

People in other areas of the Humber Valley are keeping an eye on the situation as well.

Last year, high water levels brought several old barrels down a tributary from an old airfield site a few weeks after the Main Dam doors were open.

Even in Reidville, some property owners near the river are watching the situation, the town’s clerk said.

Deer Lake town staff are keeping an eye on the situation and urge people to use caution near water.

Officials from Deer Lake Power could not be reached for comment.

The decision on whether to open the doors Tuesday morning is weather dependent.

Twitter: WStarDeerLake

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Nicholsville Road, Grand Lake Reidville Humber River Humber Valley

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