Burpee and Mills will investigate Lorne Lake flooding concerns

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EVANSVILLE – Council for the Township of Burpee and Mills will be bringing in its drainage superintendent to investigate whether a gravel ridge at the end of Lorne Lake has been washed out after several area residents raised concerns as to their properties being flooded. 

“We’ve already talked about this issue before and our concerns,” said Melanie Blaine, at a regular council meeting last week. “We are not happy with the results. Council had talked about potentially putting a dam in, but we understand this has now been dropped.”

Ken Noland, reeve of Burpee and Mills told the group, “in the 1970s the municipal drain was first put in, and it stopped at the north end of Lorne Lake. Then over the years beavers blocked the south end of the lake, creating a dam. However, “the municipal drain didn’t work properly and the water backed up. So the farmers harvested the beavers.”  From there, the farmers petitioned for a drain to include the south end of the lake, so the municipality hired K. Smart Engineering who did a preliminary report to see if a drain was necessary and the answer was yes, and proceeded to do a final report.”

“The report was accepted by council and there was an appeal process for anyone to object, and no one objected,”said Mr. Noland. “Once the report was accepted and the appeal expired under the Drainage Act, the municipality was required to maintain the drain including the south end to specifications of the engineers’ report.”

All public meetings were held in accordance with the act, Mr. Noland told the meeting, and there were no formal objections raised.

The local residents said the gravel ridge at the end of the lake has now been washed out and caused flooding on their properties.

Ms. Blaine noted, “we didn’t know about these (public meetings) until it was too late,” pointing out again last summer there was discussion that the municipality might install a dam at the lake and that the group feels it should still be considered. 

“We had flooding on our property all year (2019), from the inflow water from the Burpee flats,” said Ms. Blaine. “There is so much water around now; there is flooding all over. It’s flooding our property to the point you can’t walk around the property without wearing rubber boots.” 

Another local resident said the overflow of water has affected the size of the stream. 

“It doesn’t have time to dissipate,” said Ms. Blaine, who said the levels are already impacting or will affect vegetation, fish and wildlife habitat.

Brad Nead told council the overflow of water has affected the size of a stream adjacent to his property. 

It was pointed out by one of the residents the gravel ridge at the end of the lake has washed out. 

“I didn’t realize the gravel ridge is gone,” stated Reeve Noland. 

“The volume of water washing out is huge, it is more water than the stream can handle,” said Ms. Blaine. “And the water is spreading all over our property.” 

Mr. Nead said the water is now at danger flow levels.

“We will have our drainage superintendent engineer take a look at it,” said Reeve Noland. “If the gravel ridge is gone there is an issue and work will need to be done to replace it.”

“In the past, since 1985, the lake levels go up and down,” said Mike Ogden. “Water would leave and then stabilize. Now for whatever reason the water leaves quicker, faster. And it takes a lot longer for the lake levels to go down. And in the creek water runs all summer.”

“We haven’t changed anything, it should be the same amount of water coming out,” said Reeve Noland. “We will have our drainage superintendent go in and look at the situation at the south end of the lake and after he investigates and we get the information back we will set up a public information meeting to discuss this.”