Monday May 25, 2020

April 16, 2020

12 déc 2019



SATURDAY BREAKFASTS AT THE ORLEANS LEGION have been canceled until further notice under the nation wide state of emergency to combat the spread of COVID-19.

THE OTTAWA SCHOOL OF THEATRE has postponed its 30th birthday celebration, originally scheduled for April 4 to a later date.

THE BYTOWN BEAT CHORUS has canceled it’s planned Open House scheduled to take place on March 23.

MIFO has canceled the following productions: “Les Fabulateurs - La légende de Barbe d’Or” scheduled for March 19; “Flip Fabrique - Blizzard” scheduled for March 28; and “Laurent Paquin et Simon Boudreault - On va tous mourir” scheduled for April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

THE ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, OPERA FOR CHILDREN’ scheduled to take place at the Shenkman Arts Centre on March 28 has been postponed.


Leo Lane resident takes on the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
By Fred Sherwin
June 13, 2019

Leo Lane resident Mike Potvin is fed up and he's not going to take it anymore. As the Ottawa River continues to recede from his river front property following the latest 100-year flood last month, the 73-year-old retiree is still fighting the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority over the 2017 flood.

In that devastating event, Potvin's house shifted off its cinder block foundation and the first floor was completely inundated with water.

Mike Potvin stands in front of his house on Leo Lane which was severely damaged in the 2017 flood. He spent over $350,000 to make sure it wouldn`t be damaged in future floods. Now the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority wants him to undo all his work. FILE PHOTO

Determined not to let the catastrophic event happen in the future, he lifted his house up and poured an eight-foot foundation on top of which he added an additional two-foot knee wall.

He also built a retaining wall out of large granite boulders where his sand bag wall kept the rising waters at bay in 2017 until it failed and the water rushed in.

The measures he took and the money he spent paid off last month when his house was left high and dry against the rising flood water. He didn't need a single sand bag or require any help from the city`s emergency services. But one man's solution is another man's transgression, or in this case, a government agency's problem.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is one of 36 conservation authorities created by the Ontario legislature in 1946 with the mandate to "ensure the conservation, restoration and responsible management of Ontario's water, land and natural habitats through programs that balance human, environmental and economic needs.�

For the past 73 years, the conservation authorities have had the ultimate say when it comes to development with designated flood plains. Anyone who builds or renovates their property in a flood plain, must first get their local conservation authority to sign off on the plans.

When Potvin first decided to rebuild his foundation, he sought and received a blessing from the City of Ottawa, but with one caveat � he had to also get the blessing of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, a hurdle that would prove a lot more difficult to get clear.ed.

He also needed the RVCA's blessing to secure provincial flood relief funds. But there was just one problem, the RVCA wanted him to remove the retaining wall and the hundreds of cubic metres of fill he added to his property.

They also wanted him to fill his basement with sand to recreate his original four-foot crawlspace and drill four eight -inch holes in the foundation wall to allow water to enter the basement when the next flood happens. Potvin agreed to the measures in order to get his relief funds, but he says he was under duress at the time.

"The situation was beginning to effect my health and we really needed the money we were entitled to so we could fix the foundation,� says Potvin.

The old foundation was damaged so bad the house was leaning dangerously close to the river and Potvin was afraid it was going to be condemned if he didn't fix the situation and soon.

Although he is in the process of moving his retaining wall closer to the house, Potvin isn't moving it to the one- to 1.5-metres demanded by the city � he believes it will adversely impact the integrity of he new foundation in the advent of another flood � and he doesn't plan to fill his basement with sand.

"What happens when the next flood hits and the basement gets filled with contaminated water? Am I supposed to get rid of the contaminated sand and fill it back up again? Whose going to pay for that? And why do it at all? They say it's because they don't want the foundation to block the natural flow of the water, but the sand bag walls are already doing that. It's the same thing,� argues Potvin who has spent more than $30,000 so far on professional fees, including lawyers.

He has a court date in September when he plans to argue his case before a judge. If he loses he will have to carry through with the RVCA's demands and incur the associated costs, or risk a court order to pay back the relief funds.

On a more positive note, Potvin has an important ally in none other than Doug Ford. The Ontario premier threatened to get rid of the Conservation Authorities during the last election. Instead, he cut their funding by nearly 50 per cent in the last budget.

And just recently, the Conservative government introduced Bill 108, which if passed (which is highly probable), will drastically restrict the Conservation Authorities' power and responsibilities. For Mike Potvin that can't happen soon enough.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)



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