City says thanks with Flood Relief Appreciation Community Barbecue

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday October 3, 2019

After the spring floods devastated many communities across Renfrew County, the City of Pembroke thought it fitting to thank the selfless volunteers who helped their neighbours out with a free Flood Relief Appreciation Community Barbecue on Aug. 22.

Although the city wasn't as badly hit as other municipalities, many of its residents assisted locally, or travelled far and wide to help with sandbagging and securing properties against the rising water.

“We want to show some appreciation to the staff and volunteers who lent their efforts this spring and we want to find a fun way to end up the summer all at once,” said Recreation Programmer at City of Pembroke Elijah McKeown.

When the idea of a flood relief appreciation community barbecue was suggested to Mayor Mike LeMay, he agreed without hesitation.

“When the call came to support this city and its residents, people immediately responded and volunteered their time,” said LeMay.

He thanked students, individuals, businesses, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, The Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, the County of Renfrew, Algonquin College students and faculty, the Pembroke Horticultural Society, the Renfrew County Home Builders Association and “super-volunteer” Fred Blackstein for their efforts. He also expressed his appreciation for the city's staff and the Pembroke Fire Department who worked diligently during the emergency.

“It took an awful lot of work to keep and maintain the highway, our roads and at the same time, handle this crisis,” said LeMay, “and they did an excellent job at doing that."

Though he admits Pembroke was luckier than many surrounding communities, it did see its share of problems including flooding, landslides and the loss of one of its landmarks, the lighthouse at the Marina. The mayor also expressed concern that if similar flooding were to occur in the near future, houses may be lost to erosion.

In response, the city has filled out federal applications for government funding and LeMay hopes the special advisor appointed to look at flooding along the Ottawa River comes up with viable solutions.