'It's bad': Ottawa Valley residents work hard to save their homes
As the waves crash with heavy force, Cherie Shepherd says the only thing she can do now is wait.
“We are sitting, watching, waiting and protecting our home,” Shepherd says while sitting on the rocking chair on her family’s front porch. Shepherd’s home one of the 56 pounded by massive flooding in Rhoddy’s Bay, a community in McNab-Braeside just west of Arnprior.
“We cannot thank the people in our community enough,” says Shepherd of the tireless volunteers and area firefighters who have worked to fill more than 30,000 sandbags.
But even all the sandbags and help aren’t enough to save Suzie Smith’s basement, “it’s bad”. Wading through the chest-high water to get up the stairs, she still considers herself lucky. Smith rents the home for the winter; she doesn’t store much in the basement. What has her more concerned are the cottages she and her family owns down the street, along with her parent’s permanent home next-door. The cottages are taking in some water, her father Allan says the home, protected by sandbags, is barely surviving, “we’re maintaining,” he tells CTV from the family’s boat now the only way to get around.
Just upstream in the small community of Castleford, homes and cottages on Towey Lane, looking more like a disaster zone.
“I don’t know what to say,” says Lyle Cavanagh while surveying the damage. Cavanagh has lived in Castleford for 15-years; his home remains dry for now. Unable to see where the Ottawa River meets the road, Cavanagh’s heart goes out to his neighbours who have it much worse, “a few of them (cottages) are destroyed inside with all the water damage.”
Kayla Collins is trying to keep up with the flow. Her basement has already flooded once; she’s pulled out flooring, and is trying to protect her furniture, while trying to keep the water out, “I guess that’s all you can do.”
The Ottawa River’s destruction is too much for many residents. They’ve locked their doors and left, the high waters an impossible battle. Cottages and homes that have been in families for generations now destroyed by Mother Nature’s wrath.