| Aug 31, 2006

Feature Article - October 26, 2006

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Feature Article - October 26, 2006

Wilson family left homeless by devastating flood

by Jeff Green

“It was like my own personal Tsunami.”

That’s how Janice Wilson describes what happened late last Wednesday night at her home near Crow Lake .

At about 11:30 pm Janice happened to wake up, and soon after she heard a loud banging sound from her basement. “I heard water running. The toilet itself was bubbling,” she said. “I grabbed a flashlight; I had to go out, I was scared. I went to the back door and I saw water everywhere. Suddenly the water was a foot deep on the main floor of the house.”

The noise that Janice Wilson heard was the outer wall of her basement smashing into her water pipes.


A few minutes earlier, all that water had been contained in a lake high above the house, and above a set of CP rail tracks. A large lake had formed behind an abandoned beaver dam. The October rains raised the pressure on the dam and it burst, sending so much water down to the track bed below that it backed up behind a 6 foot wide culvert and almost submerged the tracks.

The water proceeded to fill to overflowing a creek that runs by the Wilson house, smashing through the house. It also pushed though a little road at the house, Crow Lake Road itself, and another cottage road, before spilling into Crow Lake .

Janice Wilson, fortunately, did not wait to find out what was happening. As soon as she saw water on the floor, she rushed over to wake her sleeping grandsons, Caleb and Justin Poirier. They quickly fished the boys’ shoes out of the water, put them on and ran outside to Janice’s van.

Janice normally parks the van to the east of her house, but fortunately this time she had parked it on the western side. Water was washing up to the van but miraculously it started, and within seconds Janice Wilson and her grandsons had driven to safety.

After driving to her daughter’s house in Sharbot Lake , emergency personnel were called.

Central Frontenac road and fire crews worked through the night to make Crow Lake passable again, trying to rein in water that in the early stages of the flood carried so much force that it tossed culverts aside as if they were beachballs, sent a freezer from the front of Janice Wilson’s house into the middle of Crow Lake, and completely destroyed the Crow Lake outdoor rink. Crain’s Construction company happened to be working at the Crow Lake schoolhouse, and brought in truckload after truckload of fill. With their help, the Crow Lake road was passable by Wednesday afternoon.

Remarkably, none of the other homes in the vicinity suffered significant damage, and the Wilsons ’ dog and cats survived the flood.

Janice Wilson and her grandson Justin Meanwhile, Janice Wilson has lost the home where she lived with her late husband Wilfred for many years, where they raised four daughters and a son, and where she was living with her two grandsons. Most of her belongings lie in ruins. Damage to the walls is extensive, and the foundation has been severely compromised.

To make matters worse, her insurance adjuster informed her that her insurance policy covers only flood insurance stemming from within the house, not from an external source.

“I really believe the dam should have been monitored,” Wilson said, “I’ve heard that people were aware how deep the water was, so somebody has got to be accountable for the beaver dam.”

This was not the first time water has poured into Janice Wilson’s basement. Twelve years ago Canadian Pacific did some blasting which triggered a flood that damaged her basement. At that time CP paid for repairs.

Janice is staying with friends near Sharbot Lake , and is receiving support from her family and friends.

Fundraising efforts for Janice, Justin, and Caleb are getting underway. Further details will be published as they become available. In the meantime, donations can be mailed to the Frontenac News, Box 229, Sharbot Lake, ON, K0H 2P0, or dropped off at our office at 1095 Garrett St. Cheques should be payable to Janice Wilson .

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