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Old Fort Floods

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  • Original Poster
  • River threatens historic park in Thunder Bay
    From CTV News
    Fort William Historical Park, a remake of the world's largest fur-trading post, is in danger of being destroyed by severe flooding.
    The Kaministiquia River, which surrounds the popular attraction located in Thunder Bay, Ont., rose two metres during a mild January, but then froze.
    The result has caused water to flow over the embankment and flood the $64 million replica historical site.
    Sergio Buonocore, the fort's general manager, fears the worst will come with the spring thaw. He said they have brought in professionals from across North America in to assess the situation.
    Thunder Bay contacted Winnipeg, a city that often deals with rising rivers and devastating floods, for help. Winnipeg lent a sandbagging machine, which helped workers start laying down 90,000 sandbags around the threatened administration building -- the staging ground for their recovery operation.
    "It was sort of a panic call, so we made a few calls to public works and we were able to find personnel and a sandbagging machine, get it on a flatbed and out to Thunder Bay," Randy Hull, Winnipeg's emergency preparedness co-ordinator, told CTV News.
    Winnipeg is 685 kilometres west of the northwest Ontario city.
    "We're very grateful to friendly Manitoba, they truly deserve that name," Buonocore said.
    The facility has only flooded twice in its 34-year history, in 1977 and 2003, which cost millions to repair and cancelled many events, Buonocore said.
    But this year's flooding could cause monumental damage to 27 wooden buildings on the site which are surrounded by 10 to 20 centimetres of ice and slush.
    The provincially-funded park is one of Ontario's largest tourist attractions and has drawn more than two million visitors since it was opened to the public in July 1973 by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
    Fort William Historical Park is a majestic reconstruction on the original Fort William, which served as the headquarters for the North West Company fur empire from 1803 to 1821.
    Today, the site consists of 42 reconstructed buildings on a 25-acre site, and employs 27 full-time workers and an additional 130 seasonal contract and summer staff.
    Visitors learn the history of life in the fur trade while the park is open daily from mid-May to mid-October.
    To reduce the damage, officials are trying to bring in a machine called an Amphibex Excavator, designed and made in Canada by Normrock Industries, which is capable of floating on water while breaking up ice jams.
    Manitoba owns one, but the province is using it to help flood-threatened communities in that province.
    Buonocore, though, is still optimistic about opening on time in May.
    With a report from CTV's Jill Macyshon

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    That's sad when historical sites get destoried or are near destruction. It seemed like when I visited Washington, D.C. that a lot of the historical sites have been ruined by acid rain. I guess mother nature destorys more historical sites than do humans. face-icon-small-frown.gif

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  • Original Poster
  • It isn't historical, the original was torn down over a hundred years ago for industrial development on the waterfront. If you look at that picture, there is a yellow square in the top right where it was. there is a small park there that commemorates it.

    Fort William was built down in the flood plain because it was more accessable at that time, but then it is also prone to flooding. The city actually has a bylaw in place that prohibits new development on the plane because it floods so often, so if it is entirely destroyed, it will be rebuilt elsewhere, if its rebuilt at all. What they're hopins is the ice doesnt crush the buildings. It will probablt cause major water damage though. If it isn't cleaned up by may 15 this tourist season is basically a write off, which is a shame, in mid june they have a big rock concert at the park beside the fort, and a few big name bands are rumoured to be playing. (Just like AC/DC is going to open the new stadium! face-icon-small-tongue.gif)

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    Vid, that's really tough. I hope you have better city planners now. Any idiot would know what would happen when a thing like that is placed in a meander of a mature river like that. face-icon-small-wink.gif

    Any plans to build a new version, or to move the buildings, if they survive? It would be really to bad if the fort was wiped out and not restored somewhere.face-icon-small-disgusted.gif

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    Originally posted by: vidioman

    It isn't historical, the original was torn down over a hundred years ago for industrial development on the waterfront. If you look at that picture, there is a yellow square in the top right where it was. there is a small park there that commemorates it.


    Oh, ok. Well, still, that is sad that a.... landmark is in the target of destruction. Well, partial destruction. I say that if they can afford to build a completely new fort for the old site, then they should have enough money to build a square hlill or wall around the site so that it wouldn't flood. That is just my personal thought... I'm sure somebody is going to say that they can't afford it... I just know it!

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  • Original Poster
  • They can't relly build a wall around it to keep flooding out, there's water on all 3 sides and that river rises a good 2 metres in spring. We do have better city planners now, unfortunately when I was on the bus this morning I saw another 10 acres of trees have been cleared out for suburban expansion. 15.gif I'm not sure what their plans are for the fort, they will probably restore it and leave it there. I think it might be possible to relocate it, but to where? South of the river is Fort William First Nation, north of it is the city, aside from that small park commemorating the original fort (which is nowhere big enough to rebuilt the fort there) or the two delta islands (which are mainly uindustrial) only have one access road and it wont be able to handle the traffic. And aside from that, whatever isnt industrial is a protected habitat (yes, the two CAN coexist peacefully!) so there isnt anywhere to put it. If you look at that picture, the green area just to the north east of the fort is entirely underwwater right now. But its just grassy mud anyway.

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  • Original Poster
  • Situation worsens at historical park

    Tb News Source | Web Posted: 3/8/2006 4:13:45 PM

    Staff at Fort William Historical Park continue to work around the clock to try and minimize damage from widespread flooding. With mild temperatures expected to continue throughout the week, they are anticipating an early spring thaw and that could mean the worst is yet to come.

    The view from the administration building at Fort William Historical Park shows thousands of sandbags piled up to try and prevent water from damaging the building.

    The rest of the Fort isn't so lucky, the alternating warm then cold winter temperatures have had devastating results. Ice has plugged the Kam River which surrounds the Fort and general manager Sergio Buonocore says its now dangerous to go on the site.

    Buonocore says they are continuing to assess the situation on a day-to-day basis. He says they are currently deciding whether or not to place sandbags around the Visitor centre which is surrounded by ice and snow, which could hinder the process. Buonocore says they are also working with the Ministry of Natural Resources to get an excavator to the site to break up the ice, and get the water flowing.

    Buonocore says its time for everyone to cross their fingers that mother nature cooperates. He says his staff remains optimistic they can still open in May.

    As for the potential of moving Fort William Historical Park altogether, Buonocore says that would be a huge undertaking, with many of the 52 buildings having to be reconstructed. He says they would also have to find an area with no modern facilities or surroundings. Buonocore points out that during the past 34 years, there have only been three floods, unfortunately the last two have occurred in the past three years.

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