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Flood Recovery

Last update: May 30, 2017 (3:30 p.m.)

Flooding information

Stay up to date on the latest flooding information by checking this webpage or following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Important:  Be sure to wash your hands after working in the flood. Water may contain contaminants.

Current situation

The Ottawa River is now seeing higher water levels over the past few weeks – resulting from the snow melt from the northern areas of the Ottawa River and higher-than-average rainfall over the past month.

This has resulted in flooding in the low-lying areas that are adjacent to the Ottawa River – resulting in the flooding of some pathways and roadways.

Water levels in the Ottawa River peaked the morning of Monday, May 8. A slow decline in the water levels is occurring in Constance Bay, Fitzroy Harbour, Dunrobin, MacLarens Landing, Britannia/Crystal Beach, and Cumberland.

Remember, if your property is at risk call 3-1-1.  If it is an emergency situation, call 9-1-1.

For information on water levels, see the following websites: Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the South Nation Conservation Authority, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

100-year flood plain map

Canadian Red Cross providing direct financial assistance to flood-impacted households

The Canadian Red Cross will provide $600 in direct financial assistance to those registered eligible households (individuals or families) that were impacted by the flood in the Ottawa area – including Cumberland, Constance Bay, Fitzroy Harbour, Dunrobin, MacLarens Landing, Britannia/Crystal Beach, and Belltown.

The payments will be made through electronic bank transfer to each household.

Please visit Canadian Red Cross website, at redcross.ca/gethelp, where you can register and find more information, including about eligibility.

Even if you have already registered with Canadian Red Cross, you will need to re-register, as additional information is required to process payments.

Impacted households can also register by phone at 1-800-863-6582.

Before re-entering your home checklist

Important safety note: please exercise caution when re-entering your home.

Flooding can create many hazardous conditions, including the risks of the fires, explosions, electrocution and contamination.

To help you determine if your home is ready for you and your family to safely occupy, follow these four steps.

Step 1: Do your research by reading:

Step 2: Check with the appropriate authorities

It’s important to make sure you get advice from the appropriate authorities to ensure the safety of your home.

  • Building components – such as structural and building envelope
    • Please contact City of Ottawa Building Code Services Branch at 3-1-1, as it may be necessary to arrange for a building inspection, depending on the nature of the damages incurred.
  • Electrical: Ensure your home’s electrical and services get the required certification from the following authorities and utility providers

Electrical Safety Authority 
Phone: 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233)
Website:    https://www.esasafe.com/

Hydro Ottawa
Phone: 613-738-6400
Email: custservice@hydroottawa.com
Website: hydroottawa.com

Hydro One
Phone: 1-888-664-9376
Email: customercommunications@hydroone.com
Website: hydroone.com

  • Natural gas: if your home is served by natural gas, please seek guidance from Enbridge Gas.

Enbridge Gas
Phone: 1-877-362-7434
Website:  enbridgegas.com/homes

  • Water supply:  If your home is served by a private well, please refer to the Ottawa Public Health website for information on private wells and septic systems or contact Ottawa Public Health.

Ottawa Public Health
Phone: 613- 580-6744
Email: healthsante@ottawa.ca

  • Septic system: If your home is served by a septic system, refer to the information provided y the Ottawa Septic System Office:

Ottawa Septic System Office
Phone: 613-692-3571 or 1-800-267-3504
Email: info@rvca.ca
Website: rvca.ca/osso

  • Miscellaneous heating, plumbing and appliances
    • Ensure a qualified technician inspects your heating system (wood, gas, oil, electric or other) prior to use.
    • Ensure your plumbing system is cleared of any debris and blockages, and that it drains properly. Consult a licensed plumber, as necessary.
    • Ensure a qualified electrician inspects all flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse-breaker panels prior to use.
  • Indoor contaminants: Please seek guidance from Ottawa Public Health regarding indoor contaminants (such as mould) that may be encountered after a flood.

Ottawa Public Health
Phone: 3-1-1
Website: ottawa.ca/en/residents/public-health 

  • Here are some important notes that also need to be completed before re-occupying your home.
    • Replace smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors if they are damaged or wet and not worked when tested. 
    • Be sure to thoroughly dry out building materials and house contents. This is critical to ensure mould does not become a problem following a flood.  This step may take weeks to accomplish

Step 3: It’s time to double-check.

Double-check to ensure all the following systems are safe to use, in accordance with the recommedations from the appropriate authorities and utility companies.

  • Building (structure, envelope, etc.)
  • Electrical service
  • Electrical systems
  • Electrical and gas appliances
  • Natural gas
  • Water supply
  • Septic System
  • Miscellaneous heating and plumbing

Step 4:   Now that you have ensured that everything has been inspected, you can safely re-enter your home.

Cleaning up after a flood

Experience from other floods show that the most common health problem is personal injury for individuals when re-entering and cleaning up their homes.

What steps should I take when I return home following a flood?

Protect your health and safety during cleanup

  • Electrocution is a serious risk when entering flood-damaged areas. Do not turn on any electrical appliance (major or small, furnace, water heater, etc.)  if it has gotten wet. Have it checked by a qualified service technician. Do not enter your basement if you know or suspect that water has risen above the level of electrical outlets, baseboard heaters and furnace, or is near your electrical panel. If you are unsure, do not step into the water or enter the basement, and contact an electrician.
  • When power outages occur during floods, the use of alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating, cooling, or cooking can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home. Similarly, when generators or gasoline/diesel equipment such as pumps have been running near confined spaces, a buildup of CO may occur. Make sure there is a working carbon monoxide detector when re-entering, especially if drying out your house using a generator.
  • It is important to remember that flood waters and surfaces that have been in contact with water may be contaminated with harmful bacteria. The following steps may be taken to protect against personal injury:
    • Wear protective clothing including rubber boots, waterproof gloves and eyeprotection. An N95 mask should also be worn to protect against mould and dust.  
    • Avoid entering flooded rooms or areas of poor visibility prior to draining the water
    • Avoid moving large heavy objects by yourself; these objects are heavier than normal when wet and may result in back or other injuries
    • Avoid working when fatigued. When your body is tired, you are more prone to accidents and injury. Set a realistic schedule and rest frequently or when tired.
  • If you cut or puncture your skin, clean and disinfect the wound. Seek medical attention if you have not had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years or if signs or symptoms of infection, such as redness, swelling or oozing develop.

Step 1: Gather the necessary cleaning supplies

Here are some of the items you may need for the clean-up:

  • Brooms
  • Mops
  • Buckets
  • Hose
  • Rags
  • Trash bags
  • Floor brushes
  • Sponge
  • Cleaning detergents/soap
  • Disinfectants
  • Goggles
  • Rubber boots
  • Rubber gloves
  • Face mask (N95 respirator preferable)
  • Coveralls

Step 2: What to wear when cleaning

  • Wear coveralls, rubber boots, rubber gloves, face mask and eye protection. Also, an N95 mask should be worn to protect against mould and increased dust due to clean up efforts.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and clean water before preparing or eating food, after toilet use, after participating in flood clean-up activities, and after handling articles contaminated with flood water.

Step 3: Sort damaged items to be repaired or discarded

It can be difficult to throw away items in a home, particularly those with sentimental value. However, keeping certain water-soaked items may be unhealthy. Although it may not initially be visible, mould can start growing on anything that has been damp or wet for two or more days. In general, belongings and household contents, such as upholstered furniture, that are wet and cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours should be discarded, as they can remain a source of mould and bacterial growth. Building materials such as dry wall and insulation that are wet cannot be salvaged and must be removed and discarded.

Items that are usually thrown away because they can’t be properly cleaned may include:

  • Bedding
  • Clothing
  • Books
  • Rugs
  • Carpets
  • Carpet padding
  • Leather furniture
  • Particle board furniture

Some of the above-mentioned items may be salvageable, however the process may require expert assistance.

Always throw away food that has been exposed to flood water. Discard food and beverage containers with screw-caps, snap lids, crimped caps (soda bottles), twist caps, flip tops, corks, and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water. These containers cannot be disinfected. The only safe flood-exposed foods are those sealed in metal cans have not been damaged. Thoroughly clean and disinfect with bleach and water all undamaged cans before opening.

Always throw away these flood-exposed items:

  • Cardboard
  • Cosmetics
  • Leather goods
  • Mattresses
  • Pillows
  • Medicines
  • Medical supplies
  • Stuffed animals
  • Soft toys
  • Insulation
  • Household hazardous materials (e.g. paints)
  • Household chemicals
  • Upholstered furniture

Please note that some of these items are considered hazardous waste and need to be disposed of properly

Step 4: Clean up one room at a time

How to clean flood-contaminated areas that have non-porous surfaces and can easily be cleaned:

  • Drain all water
  • Remove visible debris
  • Clean with soap and water (using mops, cloths, sponge, brushes, etc.)
  • Rinse with clean water (e.g. damp mop)
  • Disinfect with a diluted household bleach in water. Bleach straight from the bottle is hazardous and must always be diluted with water. Protect your skin and eyes when mixing. In general, mix 15ml (1 tablespoon) of bleach to 1 litre of water is adequate to disinfect hard surfaces. To treat areas with mould, use 60ml (¼ cup) of bleach per litre of water

Step 5: Dry out your home and remove mildew by lowering the humidity

It may take several weeks to completely dry out a flooded area. It is very important to ensure flooded areas are completely dry to ensure that mould does not grow. If the house is not dried out properly, a musty odour signifying growth of mould, bacteria and other organisms, may remain. It is important not to paint over or cover mould as the mould will continue to grow and pose a health risk. Dry wall and insulation and other similar building materials that are wet must be removed and discarded.

  • Drain or mop standing water
  • Remove waterlogged items from the home when possible
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate your home
  • Open closets, drawers and cabinet doors
  • Circulate air with fans, ideally pushing air out a window or door
  • Run one or more dehumidifiers as needed
  • You may need to re-clean the surfaces on which mould is growing several times until the moisture levels no longer support mould growth
  • Commercial anti-mould sprays are available to control mould growth during the drying phase. You can also mix household bleach and water and lightly spray surfaces using an atomizer (use 60ml (¼ cup) of bleach per litre of water)

Professional cleaners vs. do-it-yourself

Professional cleaning services are also an option and may be advisable for certain situations. If you are doing it yourself, it is very important to ensure that the spaces are completely dry in order to control mould. Mould spores are all around us, waiting to grow and spread into mould when given moisture. Keeping things dry and the humidity low is the best way to control mould growth.

Backyard clean-up

  • During the flood clean up, supervise children and pets and keep them out of the area until clean-up has been completed. Remember to always keep children within arm’s reach in and around water.
  • Replace sand in sandboxes and clean any play structures that may have been contaminated.
  • Till garden beds. Do not consume any produce from vegetable gardens impacted by flood water. After re-establishing garden beds, remember to always wash produce before consumption.
  • Properly remediate/clean-up any areas where fluids may have leaked from vehicles such as cars, boats, ATVs, etc.
  • Standing water can pose various health risks (e.g., pails, old tires, or other containers with water can become places where mosquitoes breed) and should be removed.

Sandbag removal is progressing

The sandbag removal is steadily progressing with 695 tonnes of sandbags collected from the flood affected areas so far – that’s about 34,700 bags.

The Trail waste facility received 38 loads on Tuesday alone – amounting to 15,450 bags, weighing a total of 309 tonnes.

These numbers will quickly rise with the help of volunteer operations occurring in Britannia and Cumberland today, and over the weekend in the Constance Bay area.

Well water in or around flooded areas

If your well is affected by the flood water (well head below water level, flood water surrounding your well or if your basement is flooded), Ottawa Public Health recommends not to drink your well water until it has been tested and found to be safe for drinking.

With the flooding, well water could be contaminated by surface flood water. If you think flood water has infiltrated your well or septic tiles, don’t use tap water or the toilet.

Once floodwaters have receded, AND after the well has been disinfected AND flushed to remove the residuals of disinfectants, residents need to test to ensure well water is safe to drink. Samples need to be submitted within a 48-hour period of when a sample is collected.

The City of Ottawa is no longer receiving samples for testing on Saturdays as the lab is unable to process samples within that 48-hour window.

Water samples can be dropped off at:

  • The Emergency Community Support Centre at the Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Centre, 262 Len Purcell Drive, Sunday through Friday. (The Legion is no longer accepting samples.)
  • The City of Ottawa Client Service (Orléans), 255 Centrum Boulevard, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 pm. 

Samples will be received by an Ottawa Public Health official, who will gather information from residents about how and when the sample was collected.

If residents have any questions about how to take a water sample, or require help interpreting their water quality results, they can also call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 for more information.

The City is bound by the guidelines set out by the Provincial Public Health Lab, and the timing set out on water testing. The level of service that the City of Ottawa can provide to residents is informed by that agency.

Until your water-testing result proves it safe, please use bottled, boiled or treated water for:

  • Hand washing
  • Preparing food
  • Bathing
  • Teeth and dish washing
  • Pets and livestock

If you are unable to access bottled water, sterilize your drinking water:

  • Bring your water to a rolling or vigorous boil for a minimum of 1 minute, or
  • Treat water by mixing two drops (0.1 ml) of unscented household liquid chlorine bleach (about 5.25 per cent chlorine) with one litre of water. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes before you use it. You should notice a slight chlorine smell after the 30 minutes.

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on well-water testing.

Donations

The Salvation Army is accepting financial donations, as well as donations of gently-used clothing and household items at all Salvation Army Thrift Stores:

  • 310 Moodie Drive
  • 4025 Innes Road
  • 1280 Leeds Avenue, Unit 6
  • 1490 Richmond Road
  • 1616 Merivale Road
  • 2659 Alta Vista Drive
  • 2339 Ogilvie Road
  • 1010 Belfast Road
  • 333 Montreal Road

All collected clothing and household items will go to those affected by the flood and other similar needs in the community.

Financial donations can also be made via the Canadian Red Cross’ Spring Floods Appeal web page, by calling 1-800-418-1111, or by contacting your local Canadian Red Cross office. In Ontario, support will be provided based on needs identified across impacted regions as the Canada Red Cross works alongside local authorities, like the City of Ottawa. 

Safety tips

Important: 

  • Be sure to wash your hands after working in the flood. Water may contain contaminants.
  • Avoid and keep children and pets away from open water, ditches, ravines, culverts and escarpments.
  • Do not attempt to drive through flooded roadways.

Hidden Hazards beneath floodwaters

Be cautious for any hidden hazards that may lie beneath the floodwaters. Some of these hazards could include debris carried downstream and deposited at a new location – such as residential areas, parks and pathways.

Some of the hazards include:

  • Natural wood
  • Pieces of fencing and docks.
  • Glass and construction hardware – such as screws and nails.

Be aware that floodwaters may hide changes in elevation – such as ditches, open drains, pools and creeks. Take precautions when walking in areas whether or not you are familiar with the area.

If your home or basement is flooded:

  • Do not enter your basement if you know or suspect water has risen above the level of electrical outlets, baseboard heaters, furnace or is near your electrical panel.
  • Electricity can move through water or wet flooring and cause a severe electrical shock.
  • In the event that floodwater has risen above outlets, baseboard heaters or your furnace, covers power cords, or is near the electrical panel, contact your local electric utility immediately and arrange for them to disconnect power to your home.
  • Watch out for downed power lines in flood-affected areas. If you see one, stay back 10 metres or the length of a school bus and call 9-1-1 and your local electric utility to report it.
  • If you smell natural gas or are aware of damage to natural gas meters and/or regulators due to flooding, call 9-1-1If any of your natural gas appliances are affected by flooding, you should have a certified gas technician inspect any affected appliances before using them.
  • Do not turn on any appliance (major or small) that has gotten wet without having it first checked by an electrician or HVAC specialist as appropriate

Food safety during and after flood conditions:

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
  • Discard any food and beverage that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water.
  • Discard any food in damaged cans.
  • Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).
  • Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air dry.

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians Program

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has initiated the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program for the City of Ottawa ‎which provides financial assistance to residents who are affected by the flooding. Information about the province’s Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians Program is available at Ontario.ca/disasterassistance.  The program may offer assistance with emergency expenses and costs to replace damaged essential property such as furnaces and hot water heaters. 

The Canada Revenue Agency offers taxpayer relief when natural disasters such as the flooding occur. Individuals, businesses, and first responders affected by the flood may find themselves unable to file or pay taxes on time. If so, the CRA encourages them to make a request for taxpayer relief. More information is available on CRA’s website, or by calling 1-800-959-8281 for individual enquiries, and at 1-800-959-5525 for business enquiries. The CRA will consider requests on a case-by-case basis. 

Deferral of property taxes for flood-impacted residents

On May 24, City Council approved a deferred due date for the 2017 final property tax bill payment for those property owners who have been affected by the Ottawa Waterway Flood.

Properties identified as being affected by the flood will be receiving a letter from the City of Ottawa – notifying that the June 15, 2017 tax installment is to be paid on December 7, 2017 – without penalty.

Most property owners impacted by the flooding will qualify for tax deferral if the following criteria are met:

  1. The property must be located in an area impacted by flooding (primarily in, but not limited to, West Carleton, Cumberland, Bay, Kitchissippi, and Orleans Ward).
  2. The building on the property was occupied in 2017 by a residence or business which was damaged by the flooding and the flooding damage has prevented the normal use of the residence or business located on the property.
  3. Property taxes have been paid up to date before the June 2017 final instalment.
  4. Property owners already enrolled in the Farm Grant Program and Low Income Seniors or Low Income People with Disabilities Tax Deferral programs are not eligible.

Property owners who are not identified and did not receive the deferral letter from  Revenue Services by June 1, 2017, may notify Revenue Services prior to December 7, 2017. The City Treasurer has the authority to grant a deferral if the property meets the criteria and was inadvertently missed in the initial assessment.

How the due date deferral works

If a property owner who is identified as impacted by the May flooding and receives the City Treasurer deferral notification, no action is required. The property tax installment due date is to be paid on December 7, 2017.

Notification of the amount to be paid will be communicated to the property owner in the fall of 2017.  If the taxes are paid in full by December 7, 2017, the City will automatically apply a credit equal to the amount of all penalties charged since June 2017.  

Property owners who are registered for pre-authorized payment (monthly or due date)

Property owners, who pay their property taxes through a pre-authorized debit plan and want to take advantage of the deferral program and delay payment of the final property tax bill, must notify the City by June 9, 2017, by email at: taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca

The pre-authorized debit plan will then be cancelled.  If the property owner wishes to reinstate their plan at a later date, they should contact the City through the same email address.  

Property taxes paid through a mortgage company 

For property owners who have their property taxes paid through their mortgage company and want to take advantage of the deferral program, please contact the financial institution to delay the final tax payment. 

Other Property Tax Relief Information

There may be situations where an owner has been advised that the property is now substantially unusable due to the recent flood, and it has prevented normal use for three (3) or more months.

In this situation, an application to request a cancellation, reduction or refund of taxes under Section 357 of the Municipal Act, 2001, which must be filed before February 28, 2018 for the 2017 taxation year.

The Section 357 Application Form was attached to the notification, which can be completed and returned to our office to initiate your request.  Note: Please notice on the form that there is a time limitation to submit the application.

A written request along with the completed Application Form must be sent to the City of Ottawa by:

  • Email to taxadjustments@ottawa.ca;
  • fax at 613-580-2457 or
  • Mail :City of Ottawa, Revenue Services,c/o Tax Adjustments Section,
    100 Constellation Crescent,4th Floor,
    Ottawa, ON   K2G 6J8.

An acknowledgment letter will be sent to you upon receipt of your application.

Need help? Contact Revenue Services

We are very mindful of the effort and paperwork that that impacted property owners must be facing. We are here to help.  If you have any questions about the tax deferral for 2017, contact:

  • Revenue Services – 613-580-2444 (TTY 613-580-2401)
    Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    (June to August, 8 a.m. to  4 p.m.) 

Responding to Stressful Events

The psychological impact of a stressful event can be immediate or delayed, and those affected directly or indirectly can feel a range of emotions and reactions. 

In the wake of stressful events our reactions can affect us physically or emotionally. It can affect our thinking.

After an emergency or disaster, people may feel dazed or even numb. They may also feel sad, helpless, or anxious. In spite of the tragedy, some people just feel happy to be alive. It is not unusual to have bad memories or dreams. You may avoid places or people that remind you of the disaster. You might have trouble sleeping, eating, or paying attention. Many people have short tempers and get angry easily. You may have strong feelings right away. Or you may not notice a change until much later, after the crisis is over. Stress can change how you act with your friends and family.

These are normal reactions to stress and it may take time before you feel better and life returns to normal. Give yourself time to heal.

Things you can do:

Focus on what needs to happen today and what can wait until tomorrow. Try to:

  • Follow a normal routine as much as possible
  • Eat healthy meals. Be careful not to skip meals or to overeat.
  • Exercise and stay active
  • Help other people in your community as a volunteer. Stay busy.
  • Accept help from family, friends, co-workers, or clergy. Talk about your feelings with them.
  • Limit your time around the sights and sounds of what happened. Don’t dwell on TV, radio, or newspaper reports on the tragedy.

Online resources include:

When should I get help?

Sometimes we need to get help from a health professional such as a psychologist, family doctor, psychiatrist, social worker or nurse. Ask for help if you:

  • Can't return to a normal routine
  • Are not able to take care of yourself or your children.
  • Are not able to do your job.
  • Use alcohol or drugs to get away from your feelings.
  • Feel extremely helpless.
  • Feel sad or depressed for more than two weeks.
  • Think about suicide.
  • Having thoughts of hurting self or others

Where can I get help?

Ottawa residents and families can access community mental health resources available in Ottawa: 

  • The Distress Centre answers calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with crisis line specialists providing confidential support. Callers can reach the Centre at 613-238-3311.
  • The Mental Health Crisis Line answers calls for people ages 16 or older 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can reach the line at 613-722-6914. 
  • Tel-Aide Outaouais offers French-language mental health telephone support from 8 a.m. to midnight every day. Ottawa residents can call 613-741-6433 and Gatineau residents can contact 819-775-3223.
  • The Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) provides confidential 24/7 phone and web counselling for children ages 20 and under. 
  • The Youth Services Bureau (YSB) provides youth and family counselling, crisis support, a 24/7 crisis line at 613-260-2360, walk-in counceling and an online crisis chat service for youth at chat.ysb.ca.
  • The Walk-In Counselling Clinics provide free, confidential single session counseling sessions throughout Ottawa
  • Ottawa Public Health Information at 613-580-6744 (TTY 613-580-9656).
  • 211 connects callers to community, social, government and health service information in Ottawa 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and multilingual.

Information sessions

The City of Ottawa hosted information sessions for residents affected by flooding. In attendance were representatives from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, Ottawa Public Health, the City of Ottawa’s Public Works and Environmental Services Department, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, which is responsible for the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians Program.

Tuesday sessions at the Nepean Sportsplex, R. J. Kennedy Arena and Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre were attended by between 50 and 70 people each. Wednesday’s session at the Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Centre was attended by an estimated 500 people.