Nov 11, 2019

Gilbert Marine Struggles to Stay Afloat Amidst Flooding

Ontario’s Gilbert Marine is struggling to recover after springtime flooding. 

Ontario’s Gilbert Marine is struggling to recover after springtime flooding. 

Recent flooding has left Gilbert Marine in Brockville, ON.,  struggling to stay in business, according to CBC News

The marina's shop was flooded by 30 cm of water during the summer. Most customers were unable to get their boats out on the water, reported CBC. Owner Nelson Gilbert said he lost about 60% of his summertime business due to the flooding.

"We had to wear rubber boots to slog through our flooded parking lot in our facilities," said Gilbert. "I had staff that just couldn't take it anymore. They gave up, and I don't blame them. It's not a nice thing to have to go to work to day after day."

The water rose in May during the spring flood and didn’t drop significantly for three months, throughout the marina’s peak season, according to Ottawa Citizen.

"My only customers this spring was the Coast Guard because they were the only boat on the river," said Gilbert.

The high water levels continue to pose a problem. The marina's docks were recently damaged by encroaching water. Gilbert alleges that the water management strategy Plan 2014 drawn up by the International Joint Commission (IJC), which was actually implemented in 2017, contributes to the issue. The new plan allows for more “natural variability” in water levels, meaning higher peaks and lower lows, according to the IJC

The plan aims to oversee water management on lakes and river systems along the Canada-U.S. border. Gilbert has created a petition to have the IJC lower water levels on Lake Ontario before winter sets in. 

"There's an unwillingness for the IJC to want to return to those levels," Gilbert said. "All it's going to do is lead to destruction this coming spring," he said.

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