Flooding risk continues in Montreal area, but no evacuation orders – CBC.ca

Flooding risk continues in Montreal area, but no evacuation orders - CBC.ca
2,400 flooded homes in Quebec as rivers rise
River levels continue to rise in the Montreal area, but there are still no evacuation orders in place in Montreal or Laval.

Residents, city workers, the military and emergency responders are working together to prepare for the flooding by digging dikes and installing walls of sandbags.

Premier François Legault toured some of the areas in the Montreal and Laval affected by flooding and rising waters on Sunday, April 21, 2019.

But if an evacuation order does come, it's critical that residents are prepared to leave, said Montreal Fire Department chief of operations Martin Guilbault.

That means packing a bag with clothes and other supplies to last 72 hours, lining sandbags around your home and considering moving any valuables out of your basement, he said.

There are about 50 troops in Île-Bizard, and another 30 on Île-Bigras in Laval, helping with preventive measures.

“There will doubtless be more flooding to come,” Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault told reporters in Yamachiche, about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal. “The weather, the temperature, the melting snow — and with a water level that is already high — what we can do is prepare the best we can.”

The bridge from Île-Bizard to Île-Mercier is now closed. Residents can remain on the island, or they can stay at a shelter on Montée de l'Église on Île-Bizard.

For those who have been forced to leave their homes, there are several temporary shelters and assistance centres set up across Quebec. The Red Cross also recommends to contact municipal authorities directly if there are no centres available in your area.

The SPVM will still be serving the island using police boats, but there will be fewer resources available to those who stay. 

"The situation is stable," said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, but emergency officials are monitoring the weather every hour in case the risk of flooding increases. Rain is expected overnight Monday and later in the week.

Legault says new approach needed to compensating flood victimsWhile touring Gatineau, Quebec Premier François Legault said governments will need to adapt programs as climate change increases the frequency of serious flooding.

In Laval, police spokesperson Evelyne Boudreau said the bridge to Île-Bigras may close as the water is expected to continue rising until at least Wednesday.

On the weekend, he said he doesn’t want taxpayers to be on the hook for repairing the same homes over and over again, especially when such events appear to be happening more frequently, possibly due to climate change.

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said many residents are still feeling the impact of the 2017 floods, and thanked everyone involved in helping the community prepare this time around.

Heavy rainfall and warm weather over the long weekend led to risings floodwaters across Quebec. Some of the hardest-hit regions include Outaouais, Gatineau, Rigaud, Laval, Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Sainte-Marie.

In Montreal's West Island, no homes have flooded yet, with the water contained to roads and terrain.

In some regions, such as Trois-Rivières and Île Bizard, officials are advising residents to respect road closures. A real-time map of Montreal road closures can be found online as the situation evolves.

"We will be flooded as most communities will be," said Pierrefonds–Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis. 

"But we're hopeful that with the tools we have in place we will minimize the impact to the population and that's our ultimate goal."

That is why beginning this year, flooding compensation will be capped by the province at a cumulative total of $100,000, after which the only aid available will be to help move out of the flood zone.

Sandbags are being loaded into trucks at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School to deliver to at-risk homes.

In Montreal’s West Island, the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro has posted a full list of street closures online. Residents are asked to follow the signs and to avoid traffic in high-risk areas.

Marie-Eve Ménard and her daughters were helping fill sandbags at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School on Monday.

He said on Monday afternoon the province cannot waste taxpayer money on compensating people for flood damage, only to see the same properties flooded again two or three years later.

"They were really happy, actually, when we said 'let's go do sandbags,'" Ménard said.

Guilbault said the teamwork between emergency responders, residents and volunteers will make all the difference as the city prepares for more flooding.

The Red Cross has launched a relief fund for victims, calling on the public to donate what they can to help those affected by rising floodwaters.

"We're working hard, people are doing their part and together we're going to minimize the impact of that flooding on their home," he said. 

Those needing assistance from the Red Cross can go to the Pierrefonds Cultural Centre at 13850 Gouin Boulevard W. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Red Cross asks that Quebecers affected by flooding register with the organization either online or by calling 1-800-863-6582.

In Laval, the Red Cross has a station set up at the community centre at 6500 Arthur-Sauvé Boulevard, open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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Residents and soldiers are filling sandbags and preparing for the worst as riverside flooding is expected to increase later this week.

Urgence Quebec said Monday morning that about 2,400 homes throughout the province were flooded, and another 700 have been cut off by rising waters.

The heaviest flooding is near Lake of Two Mountains, Lake Saint Pierre, and along the Chaudiere and Beauce rivers.

With rain in the forecast for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, water levels are expected to rise and affect more homes, especially along the St. Lawrence River near Trois Rivieres.

More than 600 soldiers are assisting homeowners and renters throughout the province, and on Monday afternoon a Canadian military cargo plane with supplies is scheduled to land at St. Hubert airport. Those supplies will be distributed based on orders from the Public Security Ministry.

In Laval officials have visited close to 2,000 homes that have flooded or are at risk from floodwaters, and delivered sandbags to 1,400 homes. Sand is also being dropped off daily at six locations for residents that want to do more, and several streets have been closed.

Residents of Ile Bigras, which lies in the Riviere des Prairies between Montreal and Laval, said water levels have increased in the past few days. They have been told that Wednesday and Thursday will likely be the days when water is at its highest.

One woman told CTV News that she only just finished repairing the damage caused in 2017 only to have flooding once again threaten her home.

On the island of Montreal large swathes of the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro were flooded in 2017, but borough mayor Jim Beis said workers are now better prepared.

Dikes have been built higher in the past two years and inflatable walls have been installed, and pumps have been operating on several streets for days.

Volunteers working in the parking lot of Pierrefonds Comprehensive School have spent days filling sandbags and giving them to residents in order to protect their properties.

Regardless, the intersection of Pierrefonds Blvd. and René Emard St. was flooded early Monday morning.

"Certainly in 2017 the extraordinary crisis that we had no one had ever seen before, and you learn from this type of events," said Beis.

"We started looking at ways of improving not only the infrastructure but also having the necessary equipment on site to make sure we deal with any eventual flood and Id like to say weve done this and up to this point successfully."

The intersection of Pierrefonds Blvd. and René Emard St. was flooded early Monday April 22, 2019 (CTV Montreal/Stephane Gamache)