From the office of MPP Norm Miller
Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka is pleased to let residents know that Ontario is taking action to address concerns of those affected by this year’s flooding.
Today John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, announced that Doug McNeil has been named Ontario’s Special Advisor on Flooding. McNeil will advise the province on ways to reduce the impacts of flooding and ensure communities can recover quickly.
“We heard from people across the province and saw first-hand the damage caused by flooding in so many communities this spring,” said Minister Yakabuski. “We want to help Ontarians protect what matters most, and the Special Advisor will help better prepare our province for flooding in the future.”
The Special Advisor will assess current roles and responsibilities of governments, agencies and organizations involved in flood management, including any opportunities for improvement; review feedback received; identify focused recommendations; and ensure all recommendations are consistent with the province’s ability to implement them.
McNeil has been involved in many aspects of water resource planning, operations, and management, including hydraulics, hydrology, stormwater management, and water control structures. He played key roles in the 1997 “Flood of the Century” on the Red River and led the Floodway Expansion project which included a provincial review of floodway operating rules and flood protection studies of mitigation measures for Winnipeg.
As Manitoba’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, McNeil was responsible for a vast infrastructure network including drains and culverts, multi-functional dams and reservoirs, diversion channels and flood pumping stations. He was also responsible for hydrologic forecasting and the emergency measures organization, which involved business continuity planning, critical infrastructure and cyber security. He recently retired as Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Winnipeg.
Flooding is a serious problem that is becoming increasingly common as Ontario experiences more frequent extreme weather events. The province held Flooding Engagement Sessions earlier this year in Muskoka, Pembroke, and Ottawa to hear from municipalities and industry leaders on how to better prepare for and respond to floods. The Special Advisor will build on input from those sessions as well as feedback from the public.
“Doug McNeil brings an incredible wealth of experience dealing with flooding in Manitoba and managing the Red River Floodway,” said Miller, “I am thrilled that he will bring his expertise to help mitigate future flooding in Ontario and I very much look forward to hearing his recommendations.”
The government is also making it easier for property and homeowners to take immediate action when flooding happens. Property owners can apply online for a work permit to repair eroded shorelines and build erosion controls such as breakwalls immediately at ontario.ca/page/streamlined-crown-land-work-permit.
As well, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has launched a new Surface Water Monitoring Centre webpage (ontario.ca/page/surface-water-monitoring-centre) with access to flood early warning messages. This will help property and homeowners prepare for and respond to flood conditions and take action to stay safe and reduce flood damage by responding to early warnings in advance of an emergency.
“We are making it easier for people across Ontario to deal with flooding on their properties by giving them access to the information they need about flooding, when they need it, and helping them work on their properties in the most efficient way possible,” said Minister Fullerton whose riding of Kanata-Carleton was also impacted by severe flooding this spring.
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