Britannia Village staying dry thanks to brand new berm
One of the few areas along the Ottawa River that isn't flooding is Britannia Village, in the west end of Ottawa.
Normally, with this kind of rainfall, yards fronting the river would be knee-deep in water.
What's new is a grassy berm built just last year for this very thing.
Sometimes there's a price to pay for living on the edge of paradise.
Firas Sassi moved to Britannia Village just a couple of months ago. He's noticed the water level rise by his house a foot and a half in a couple of days.
“I come from North Africa,” he says, “so when I see rain and water, we get happy.”
“Are you happy now? Or worried now,” asked the reporter.
“A little worried,” he says.
All along the waterfront in Britannia Village...residents are worried about what will happen. Little wonder.This area is in a flood plain.
After years of dealing with flooding, the community association worked with the city to build a flood control wall -- this grassy berm to protect those lower homes along the river -- and those in the village that have flooded in the past as well.
“It just went in last year, and people were really saying we don’t need it,” said Matilde Hahn of the Britannia Community Association. “The minute it came in, it’s become really important because we’ve had water go all the way up the berm.”
The berm is about a kilometre along the waterfront at a cost of about $2-million, partly paid by the homeowners it protects.
Residents like Marie Arsenault, whose townhouse fronts the river. Water two days ago lapped over the retaining wall but stopped at the berm
With much more rain on the way, it's unclear whether the berm is enough to keep the water back.
“Out hope it that it will,” Coun. Mark Taylor said. “It’s built to withstand a one in 100 year flood level and we’re hopeful we don’t see that. Even if we do, there are parts of the berm that can withstand a little bit more.”
The berm has been contentious. Some didn't want it and said it would actually CAUSE flooding. But those properties high and dry right now -- strongly disagree.