This past spring, and for the first time in years, Jumbo Creek didn’t flood Highway 537. In celebration, two local politicians who teamed up to lobby the province to fix ongoing flooding issues at the site headed out to the area for a toast — of Canada Dry, no less.
Highway 537 connects Highway 17 and Highway 69 through Wanup.
For years every spring, the highway would flood at Jumbo Creek, forcing residents in the rural area to take long detours around the submerged roadway.
When she was elected to represent Ward 9 in 2015, Deb McIntosh championed rehabilitating the area so the creek would no longer overflow the highway. She wrote to then Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca (now Ontario Liberal leader) and cc’d Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas on the message.
The MPP took the message directly to Del Duca and within a few months, by June 2015, the ministry agreed to fix the flooding issue.
It took three years for that rehab work to begin and despite a change in government in 2018, the project continued under new Conservative Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney. It took two phases and two summer construction seasons to complete.
The $1.92-million project was finally fully finished this past week.
To celebrate, McIntosh and Gélinas visited the site on Oct. 8 and toasted the completed project with, fittingly, Canada Dry ginger ale.
“On behalf of the residents of Wanup and Wahnapitae, I want to sincerely thank France for physically walking my 2015 letter concerning the annual Hwy 537 flooding to the Minister of Transportation. I doubt we’d be standing here today high and dry without this kind of team effort.” said McIntosh in a news release.
Gélinas meanwhile, thanked residents in the area for their patience.
“I want to thank all the users of Highway 537 for their patience. It took us years to convince the Ministry of Transportation to fix the culvert at Jumbo Creek and the road leading up to the Creek. A special thank you to the people who spoke up, wrote letters, sent emails and pictures. We did it! This stretch of road should not flood anymore!”