Highest water in decades - Emergencies declared

Added: Wed, 05/10/2017 - 11:10pm
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All the gates were open at the Chat Dam, on May 7, adding to
the flood of water coming downstream.

Francois Carrier (tr. AB)

At press time, the municipalities of the MRC Pontiac and the Municipality of Pontiac were still on alert and dealing with the aftermath from rising waters due to heavy rainfall and a strong flow of water down the Ottawa River from Témiscamingue. Some, like the Municipality of Pontiac and Mansfield, had declared a state of emergency over the weekend and had the military intervene to help with
sandbagging efforts.
Here is a summary of the situation for municipalities along the Ottawa River.
Rapides-des-Joachims: The water is much higher than usual, but no major flooding has occurred.
Ile-aux-Alumettes, Chichester, Sheenboro: Sandbags were distributed to residents to protect their homes and authorities increased the number of meetings with citizens to ensure safety. Some residences were evacuated.
Waltham: The Ottawa River was the biggest flood threat, but other basins, such as the Black River, have also overflowed. According to some testimonies and a video, it is estimated that the Black River Road was covered by at least one meter of water in some places.
Mansfield: Evacuations took place May 2, including in the Pearson Island sector. The municipality announced emergency measures at a council meeting with Davidson residents hit exceptionally hard. Several people made the decision, reluctantly, but by obligation, to leave their residences. The municipality issued a press release on May 4 to explain the measures necessary and citizens leaving their homes were asked to notify the municipal office. “We are asking people to safely store their belongings and to unhook items such as propane gas cylinders,” said Mayor Kathleen Bélec. More than 1,000 sand bags were distributed before May 6 and the army arrived to help over the weekend.
Fort-Coulonge: The main concern for the village was over the amount of water flowing through its water filtration plant. “We do not want to end up with residents who can no longer use their toilets and have no access to clean water,” explained Mayor Raymond Durocher. Public Safety was contacted about the risks involved. Other measures, such as the temporary closure of the municipal park, were also taken.
Ile-du-Grand-Calumet: The municipality already experienced flooding around April 21. Evacuations of certain citizens as a preventive measure were planned and one resident had already been evacuated.
Litchfield: Farmers have seen their properties flooded and their spring work set back. 
Campbell's Bay, Bryson and Portage-du-Fort: Flooding occurred in several areas in all three municipalities. The outskirts of the village of Campbell's Bay became increasingly vulnerable and River Road was closed.  
Clarendon: “We have about 20 residents, all cottagers, who are currently trying to save their homes,” said Executive Director Mike Guitard. The rising water level in the Sand Bay sector required quick actions from owners to minimize damage. Sandbags were available.
Bristol: Many cottages close to the water were threatened and the Norway Bay pier was completely under water. Sand bags were made available.
Municipality of Pontiac: Several measures have been in effect for weeks and some residences in the affected areas were disconnected from electrical service. Mandatory evacuations took place and the ferry was closed. The Community Centre was used for shelter and the Red Cross was stationed with the Luskville Library. Minister of Transport Laurent Lessard, Pontiac MNA Andre Fortin, and Deputy of Gatineau, Stephanie Vallée addressed residents at the Community Centre, May 7. Vallée noted more municipalities are being added to the list of areas eligible for emergency financial aid for damages; to date, these include the Municipality of Pontiac, Mansfield, Otter Lake, and Fort-Coulonge.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard also visited the municipality on May 8. He thanked volunteers, answered questions, and explained the help available to those in need.
Otter Lake, Alleyn-et-Cawood: The situation was said to be under control.