More than 600 Canadian soldiers have fanned out across Quebec, including parts of the National Capital Region, filling and stacking sandbags as officials warn that flood waters are likely to keep rising this week due to warming temperatures that contribute to snowmelt and ice movement.
Urgence Quebec said Monday that six major floods were threatening Quebecers, with 2,389 residences across the province flooded and more than 1,500 people forced from their homes.
In Gatineau, nearly 100 people had registered for emergency shelter support at 89 Jean-René-Monette St. by Monday morning. The city confirmed Sunday the Canadian Armed Forces had been deployed to assist municipal employees with relief efforts on the ground.
Certain areas of Gatineau Park have been forced to close due to flooding.
As he toured a flood zone in the Laval area Sunday, Premier Francois Legault noted that many homeowners were still repairing damage caused by record flooding in 2017. He also suggested that Quebecers whose homes are repeatedly flooded may eventually be forced to move.
William Bradley, whose house in Rigaud sits on a street that hugs the Ottawa River, said he filled several hundred city-supplied sandbags this week. He’s stacked them four-high around doors and windows, wrapping the makeshift barriers in polyethylene.
“It’s still coming up, coming up,” said Bradley, 72.
He said flooding two years ago caused about $100,000 in damage to the ceramics equipment he stores at home for his small business.
“We’ll stay as long as we have gas for the generator. We’ve got a boat – my daughter bought a boat and a motor for us in 2017,” he said. “By the way, never buy a boat during a flood season. It gets pricey.”
The City of Gatineau has a call out on its website for businesses wishing to donate to flood relief efforts, instructing interested parties to contact the city’s supply department.
– With files from OBJ Staff