Along its course, the river widens into several lakes, including Onwatin in Hanmer; Kusk off Panache Lake Road (watch out for leeches); Grassy; and Wabagishik, out on the fringes of Ward 2. Lake Wabagishik was made famous by the Group of Seven. Franklin Carmichael painted the lake in 1928 and if you have ever paddled along its waters, you will understand why he was inspired. At the southern end of Wabagishik is a set of rapids where the river narrows once again. It is very picturesque.
I fell in love with the Vermilion River last year when I decided to paddle this stretch in early October. The colours were just starting to pop and the riverbanks were explosively yellow and bright. It was like travelling through the sun. I bottomed out about six times and had to drag my kayak through the chilly shallow waters, but it was well worth the effort.
If the design objective is to meet and provide peak flow control for storm events, it is necessary to plan beyond the 1:100-year peak flow, and instead plan for the new norm of a 1:1000-year flood event. Planning for the appropriate peak flow is crucial to building climate resilience and meeting the demand over the full lifecycle of the infrastructure. If an inadequate peak flow formula is used it could result in significant additional costs to the City if it has to repair or tear up failing infrastructure to rebuild and increase capacity before it has reached its end-life. “Even a 1000-year return period has a 5% risk of being equalled or exceeded in a 50-year period.”
The Report indicates that “the anticipated influence of climate change on precipitation is steeped in uncertainty with future projections ranging from a minimal increase to almost a 250% increase”, and yet the stormwater planning only ranges from a 1:5 to a 1:100-year flood event. The Report admits that “this range represents a significant challenge to the municipality to understand and integrate into its planning decision making process”.
The specific areas of concern (AOC) for the VRS are the Margaret, Anne and Three Corner Lake areas in Louise and Lorne Townships. The forest area within and surrounding this triangle of lakes has cultural heritage landscape values and is of significance to this community. The area has been used for cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, trapping and fishing by the Finnish Community since the early 1900s.
The Vermilion River and its connecting lakes should be promoted and recognized as a Heritage Feature because of its rich cultural, historical and social value. The Vermilion River is not even mentioned in the Plan, which we submit is a major gap.
Home and cottage owners on Ella Lake and a stretch of the Vermilion River have been experiencing water levels much lower than usual this year, and Vale has issued the following information:
The Spanish River system has been used for waterpower generation for more than 100 years. Vale owns and operates 15 main water control structures and 5 generating stations while Domtar owns and operates 5 main control structures and 1 generating station.
The Spanish & Vermilion Rivers Water Management Plan sets out the details of the operation and management of each waterpower and control structure within the Spanish River and Vermilion River Watersheds. This plan was prepared by the Spanish & Vermilion Rivers Water Management Planning Team, and is available for viewing at this link.
The extremes of climate change will affect the operation of critical infrastructure such as water and wastewater treatment plants, sewers, the electrical grid, public transport and roads that are sensitive to temperature and weather thresholds. Beyond these thresholds, infrastructure may have reduced capacity or may not function at all.
Climate Change is projected to have long-term and ever-increasing effects on communities and the environment. It is encouraging to hear that data gaps in the vulnerability assessment for the City of Greater Sudbury’s (CGS) drainage related infrastructure are being addressed to prepare for the predicted increases in the severity and frequency of extreme weather events associated with climate change.