Caution still needed on river

Vincent Ball

By Vincent Ball, Brantford Expositor

The rescue of two women from the Grand River on Wednesday shows the after effects of the heavy rainfall in June are still being felt, says a spokesperson for the Grand River Conservation Authority.
“The flows are twice as high as they would normally be for this time of year and because of all that rain there is a lot of debris – tree branches, rocks, trees – in the river that also poses a danger,” said Lisa Stocco.
“I can’t say how fast the flows are but I can say that the higher the water the faster the flows so people really do need to be exercising caution.”
Although the amount of rainfall that fell in the area on June 23 varies, more than 100 mm of rain fell within a span of two to three hours across the northern part of the Grand River watershed. That is about 10 per cent of the area’s annual rainfall, Stocco said.
Flooding occurred in some areas of the watershed and the GRCA put out advisories urging people to be careful around the Grand River and associated waterways.
Although flooding hasn’t been a concern in more than a week, people still need to be careful because of the high flows and debris, Stocco said.
Water levels were so high and the conditions so dangerous that the GRCA was forced to suspend tubing at Elora Gorge Consevation Area last week. GRCA officials are still repairing some of the infrastructure that was damaged during June’s heavy rainfall,
The hazards of the Grand River were evident again Wednesday when two women in a dinghy got lodged in a tree.
They were able to use a cell phone to call 911 and Brantford firefighters,
City police and Brant paramedics responded to the call for help. Firefighters put two rapid deployment boats into the  river and were able to rescue the women.
Brantford fire department Deputy Chief Todd Binkley called it a very “challenging rescue” due to the location and the water current.
The women were checked out by paramedics and found to be in good condition.
Anyone using the Grand River also need to be aware that many of the GRCA buoys and booms that warn of dangerous spots were displaced during June’s heavy rainfall.
GRCA staff are working to put them back into position, Stocco said.