Lac-des-Seize-Iles residents clean up without government help
Published Saturday, May 10, 2014 6:29PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 10, 2014 6:39PM EDT
People living in the Laurentians community of Lac-des-Seizes are forced to begin a long and difficult clean up after a landslide last month wreaked havoc in the area.
Believed to have been caused by heavy rain and melting snow, the landslide destroyed six homes, damaged many more, and also closed a road.
People living in the community are eagerly awaiting news from geologists as to whether or not the soil is safe enough for them to return to their homes.
Meantime, over 150 volunteers turned out Saturday to begin cleaning out the lake, many with their own boats.
“Our community needs us,” said volunteer Elise Latour. “We travel the lake up and down all summer. We need to make it safe.”
The initiative comes from Environnement Rive-Nord, the company which answered the initial cleanup call in order to prevent toxic spills.
“I said why don't we tweet and Facebook people and get people to do cleanup, and we did a first weekend and we did very well,” said Jacques Madore of Environnement Rive-Nord.
Mayor Yves Baillargeon arranged the rest.
“The community took her destiny in her own hands and decided that a mountain moved. We were going to put it back in place,” he said.
Government help has yet to materialize. Many resident feel that without immediate outside help, the debris will spread quickly, now that the ice has melted.
“The problem is all the water flows to the other end, and then it goes to the next lake, and the next lake so any pollution we have the other lakes will have a problem,” said volunteer Geroge Calder.
Using fishnets, volunteers are attempting to catch as much debris as possible.
Cleaning up the mess is important for another reason; many of the lakeside cottages are only accessible by boat.
“We're really worried about floating material in the lake because we use the lake at nighttime too and if you hit something you have a problem,” said Calder.
Getting help to rebuild will be more difficult; most property owners won't be covered by their insurance because the landslide is considered an Act of God.
Baillargeon said he's already met with Pierre Arcand, the Liberal minister responsible for the Laurentians.
“I really hope they'll react because it's a multimillion-dollar operation to clean the lake,” he said.