Waters recede; damages are tallied

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Municipalities warn to keep sandbags in place and avoid flooded roads

Maryam Amini

MRC PONTIAC – During the past couple of weeks, water levels increased along the Ottawa River due to significant rainfall, flooding many areas of the Pontiac; they exceeded those of the 2017 flood, but were less than what was witnessed in 2019. Municipalities were advising residents to leave sandbags in place and to avoid circulating on flooded roads.

Upper Pontiac

Alicia Jones, director general
of L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, said the municipality made sand and sandbags available to residents and opened St. Joseph Hall to anyone who needed shelter, WIFI or to use the kitchen and bathroom. In total, 105 residences were flooded, 38 were at high risk and 26 at medium risk.

“We were in constant communication with Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security, the Sûreté du Quebec, paramedics and fire departments. We tried our best to keep people informed of the ever-changing situation through website posts, social media, the emergency telephone system, and radio and newspaper communications. We reminded property owners to not remove sandbags or protection measures as the river levels were in constant fluctuation,” she explained.

The following roads are still closed in L’Isle-aux-Allumettes: M, F, G (last houses), H (last houses), P (after #34), Owl’s Landing, Hemlock (last houses), O’Briens Bay (west direction), Murphy’s Point (after # 62), Violet-Robert (after #44), George (last houses), Maxime (after #52 east and #42 west), Walnut (after #6), Ash (last houses), Tamarack (after #7), Basswood (after #25) and Ranch (last houses).

In Chichester, Duck Lane (after # 41) is still closed, 9 houses are flooded and 13 are at high risk.

In Sheenboro, the following roads are closed: Baie-d’Hudson (last houses), Ferguson Bay and ICO (2 last houses). Ten homes are at risk, but none are flooded.

Mansfield

Sandra Armstrong, mayor of Mansfield, said both the Ottawa and Coulonge Rivers’ water levels are declining, but residents still need to be cautious. Fourteen houses and 68 cottages were flooded, while 31 houses and 58 cottages were at risk.

“It would be irresponsible to dismantle protective measures as the situation is still very fragile. It’s strictly forbidden to drive on flooded roads. For those who are isolated and affected by the current disaster, please contact us to communicate your needs and relocation plans. It’s important you do not remain isolated as emergency services will not be able to reach you [quickly if needed]. If you’re unable to relocate, please contact Eric Rochon, director general, at 613-717-1791 or myself at 819-744-1660,” she added.

The following roads are closed: Thomas-Lefebvre at the dock and between civic numbers 270-278, Félix, Esprit, Léonard (up to #221), Pearson, Whelan, de La Passe (up to #122), du Grand-Marais (to #215), Romain, Boisvert, Mousseau and Belec.

Waltham

Odette Godin, mayor of Waltham, explained the situation in the municipality, where two houses were flooded and 10 are at risk. “Our municipal foreman, Tim Dempsey, and Fire Chief Larry Perry have been going around making sure residents are okay and people know who to call or where to go for help. Residents handled themselves with grace and patience throughout the whole nightmare.

Several local youth took it upon themselves to fill sandbags for neighbours.

We ask everyone to avoid flooded roads so they don’t hurt their vehicles,the roads, or themselves, which would put undue strain on our emergency services.”