Ice jams may cause issues near West Montrose Bridge, says residents
Stephanie Villella, CTV Kitchener
Published Wednesday, September 18, 2019 1:30PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6:41PM EDT
An island forming in the Grand River near the West Montrose ‘Kissing Bridge’ has residents worried.
People in the community have expressed concerned that the island could create ice jams this winter.
West Montrose resident Miriam Gingrich sasy the island formed this February during an ice storm and could threaten the iconic, century-old bridge.
"We believe the ice pushed the beginning of that," she said. "It's been building since the summer and now there's grass and stuff on it.
"It's getting bigger."
Gingrich adds that she's lived in the village for 50 years and is concerned for her family this upcoming winter.
“The ice can get right up against the bottom [of the bridge[,” said West Montrose resident Clare Gingrich. “As that happens we have ice going across the street as far into our backyard. Aquatic life is pushed into the backyard, left there to die after the ice and water recedes.”
Residents describe the island as a stopper in a bottle. They say that when ice starts to form, the island will cause ice to back up onto their properties and damage the bridge.
The Gingrichs add that they've dealth with ice jams before.
"It's really terrifying because you feel helpless," said Miriam. "What can I do? You just have seconds."
Residents are now asking the Grand River Conservation Authority to removed the island before winter.
“We see this as a significant issue right now that needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” said Gingrich. "We've seen what can happen and we don't want to have that happen again.
The GRCA says they are investigating the situation.
"At this point in time we have no plans of intervening," said Cam Linwood of the GRCA. "We will let the river naturally take its course.
"It's king of the way rivers generall work where there are dynamics that change overtime and certainly we expect this area to be the same."
The GRCA adds that they are working with the municipality to help develop emergency response plans for people living in West Montrose, which they say is a key flood damage centre.
"We know what can happen and know what has happened," said Clare. "To leave this here...it's almost a point of negligence."