Que­bec towns deal with flooding

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD -

MONTREAL — Que­bec’s pub­lic se­cu­rity min­is­ter asked flood-stricken com­mu­ni­ties to be pa­tient on Tues­day as fore­casts called for more rain this week.

Numer­ous Que­bec mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that bor­der streams and rivers are deal­ing with floods as heavy pre­cip­i­ta­tion and mild tem­per­a­tures have caused wa­ter lev­els to rise rapidly.

Martin Coi­teux took stock of the sit­u­a­tion in Shaw­ini­gan, Que., about half­way be­tween Montreal and Que­bec City.

“I un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion, it’s not fun,” Coi­teux said. “But we have to ask ci­ti­zens to be a bit pa­tient, be­cause I think the next few days are not go­ing to be days when things are go­ing to im­prove right away.”

Heavy rain and spring run-off have also caused some roads to wash away and sink­holes to form across the province.

Early Tues­day, two Que­bec pro­vin­cial po­lice of­fi­cers were in­jured when their pa­trol car fell into a sink­hole about a me­tre deep on a ru­ral road in Ste-Genevieve-de-Batis­can, in cen­tral Que­bec.

The 2017 flooding doesn’t match records set in 1974, but the sit­u­a­tion re­mains ex­cep­tional and is ex­pected to re­quire close sur­veil­lance for at least an­other week, Coi­teux said.

Two par­tic­u­larly hard-hit ar­eas are Gatineau and Ri­gaud, just west of Montreal near the On­tario bor­der.

Ri­gaud Mayor Hans Gru­en­wald said he fears the worst and urged res­i­dents to re­in­force rather than re­move the sand­bags pro­tect­ing their homes.

Ri­gaud was un­der a state of emer­gency ear­lier this spring due to flooding from the Ottawa River and the wa­ter has risen again by 10 cen­time­tres or more in some ar­eas since Mon­day.

“We are very wor­ried by the vol­ume of wa­ter we will be re­ceiv­ing in the next 24 to 36 hours,” Gru­en­wald told a news con­fer­ence.

He said an ad­di­tional 6,000 ad­di­tional sand­bags have been or­dered for the flood-stricken town.

Gru­en­wald said res­i­dents should vol­un­tar­ily leave their homes if roads be­come im­pass­able due to flooding.

The town has re­sources ready to help dis­placed res­i­dents.

A shut­tle ser­vice is avail­able for ar­eas that can no longer be reached by car be­cause of wa­ter ac­cu­mu­la­tion of be­tween 30 and 80 cen­time­tres, Gru­en­wald added.

Coi­teux says civil se­cu­rity of­fi­cials in var­i­ous parts of the province have the sit­u­a­tion un­der con­trol and doesn’t be­lieve the province needs the help of Cana­dian Forces per­son­nel. He also added that home­own­ers deal­ing with flooding will ben­e­fit from emer­gency fund­ing from the province.

Fed­eral Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale told re­porters in Ottawa says his gov­ern­ment is ready to help if asked.


Alain Be­langer walks up to his home, Tues­day in Ri­gaud, Que. Numer­ous Que­bec mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are deal­ing with floods from heavy rains.

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