Grand River bursts its banks

BRANT — The mighty Grand flexed her muscles throughout the weekend, spilling over her banks.

Several area roads were closed, including Newport Road, River Road, Birkett Lane, as well as Gilkison Street and other low-lying streets in West Brant and Holmdale.

Brant County and Six Nations flood co-ordinators maintained the closure of Boundary Road between Six Nations and Brant.

The lower playing field and Powwow grounds were under water over the weekend as the Grand River reminded us all who is really in charge here. Photo by Jim Windle

With the amount of rain, which suddenly fell within the Grand River Watershed as a final remnant of Hurricane Cindy, the GRCA was unable to hold back enough rain water to prevent flooding, however their efforts did mitigate some damage.

The Lorne Bridge was a popular vantage point to see the power of the river in action as floodwater spread over the banks and formed two large lakes on either side of Cockshutt Road up to the dyke.

A number of trailer parks in Caledonia and Brant had to scramble to move camper vehicles to higher ground.

After the last biggest flood of the river in 1974, a Royal Commission Inquiry into the Grand River Flood was published with recommendations to build dykes in Eagle Place and around the Mohawk Chapel. An agreement was reached between Six Nations, who still retain underlying title to that part of Brantford, and the City to comply and construct the berm and hiking trail.

It was a good idea then, and it was a great idea this weekend preventing untold damage to homes and infrastructure protected by the dyke.

Flooding often occurred as settlement and expansion began pushing into the Grand River Flood plane. There were serious floods in 1942, 1948, and in 1972. After the dyke was constructed, damage from subsequent floods was contained, as it was this weekend.

But it’s not only the water damage and flooding that is of concern to the GRCA and to Six Nations. Flooding compromises the integrity of the banks of the river. In recent years, Six Nations has had to close roads along the river permanently due to landslides into the river. The same has happened in Newport and broke the link between Cockshutt Road and Fourth Line in at least two places, never to be reopened.

It is not known at this time if there was any serious stability damage to the cliffs and banks along the path of the river.

The level began going down after cresting at the Oxbow, Sunday afternoon.

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