‘Ottawa’ Flood Waters Threaten Historic Mill in Killaloe
The Old Mill at Killaloe, a former grist mill that found new life generating electricity for the provincial grid, has been flooded and might need to be demolished.
The red wooden building with white trim stands three storeys, but this week Brennan’s Creek is rushing around the end of the old mill dam and through the main floor of the building itself.
The mill is in Old Killaloe, a short distance from the main village of Killaloe.
Photographer Lynn Flokstra calls the mill “a gem.” But she said water is rushing “in one door and out the side.”
“It hasn’t really shifted, but there’s an awful lot of water pushing against the outside wall,” she said Wednesday evening.
“That building has been there for more than 100 years, but it did have some tender loving care and was really well restored. I imagine it has been close to this several times, but each time it has come back from the brink.
“Everybody is just holding their breath … It is a beloved historical site. There are very few gems like that in Killaloe, so to lose a landmark like that is really sad.”
One theory is that stop logs were left in place in the dam, restricting water flow through the dam. Stop logs can be removed to let more water through the spillway when pressure builds behind a dam.
“Everybody knows (the mill). It’s a three-storey building and it’s right on a corner on the road. You can’t miss it,” said Ted Browne, a township councillor for the area.
“I’m sure if it disappears, people won’t like it. It’s part of our town. But it’s like everything else: With something that’s there all the time, people don’t appreciate it until it’s gone.”
He said the flooding has been heavy this year. “There’s speculation about a lot of beaver dams up in the hills,” which can affect water flow.
The mill was sold a couple of years ago, he said, and “I’m not sure the new owner takes the planks out (from the dam) the way the old owner did, so that makes a difference as well.
“But there’s so much water running… It’s starting to come out onto the road now” in central Killaloe.
Township Mayor Janice Visneskie-Moore said the municipality is examining the safety of the building and dam. The dam itself appears to be safe, she said.
“We had people living there a couple of years ago and they sold it,” she said. The current owner has never lived there.
“It has been there for a long time, but because it stopped being used it was kind of forgotten,” she said.
Closer to Ottawa, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority announced a flood watch Tuesday, saying water levels in the Mississippi system had risen more than expected early this week.