PONTIAC & MANSFIELD – The Luskville Community Center was filled with over 150 people, May 15, as representatives from Hydro Quebec, CISSS Pontiac, and the Quebec government came together to provide an information session regarding recovery from the recent floods that overwhelmed the region. A similar meeting was held in Mansfield, May 18, at the Parish Hall.
The information sessions provided residents with information on how to safely re-enter their homes. Pontiac MP Will Amos advised residents that “their municipalities and government are continuing to make amendments to the current compensation program in order to augment the amount of support for flood victims”.
The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) provided a detailed summary of financial assistance for evacuation, housing, food, damages, and reintegration costs for flood victims. Currently, the municipalities of Fort-Coulonge, Mansfield, Otter Lake, and Pontiac are eligible for emergency financial aid.
The following points were highlighted during the session:
• Residents should consider water from wells undrinkable, and wait 10 days post flood before performing treatments to clean the water.
• The majority of insurance companies cover sewer backups and water infiltration from heavy rains, but flooding, in most cases, is not covered. MPS provides support for flooding situations that are not covered by insurance companies, up to $200,000.
• Sand bags should be returned to the municipality, and not dumped on beaches or used as playground sand.
• Residents cleaning their homes after the flood should make sure to wash their hands regularly and use face masks to prevent contaminated water from getting in their mouths.
• Hydro Quebec announced they will not be charging a fee to restore power to residents.
• Any residents requiring physical or psychological support were urged to seek support from the CLSC staff of social workers and nurses available.
• The time spent filling sand bags and moving furniture to prepare for and prevent flooding can be claimed and reimbursed at minimum wage by MPS, up to $5,000.
Overall, residents were happy to hear of the additional support measures being put in place – although anxiety of dealing with damaged homes and properties still lingered high. Frustrations also arose with the news that MPS’ financial aid program provides support only to those whose primary residences have been affected, which means cottages are not eligible. However,
cottage owners can receive a tax credit to cover 30% of their expenses, to a maximum of $18,000. The information sessions ended with a question and answer period, and a variety of information handouts were offered.
Eligible residents have until mid-July to submit their claims For additional information visit http://www.urgencequebec.gouv.qc.ca or call 1-877-644-4545.