Waterfront residents brace for possible flooding, even as COVID-19 crisis continues
Published Tuesday, April 7, 2020 9:44PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 8, 2020 6:38PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Like millions of other people, residents of the West Island are worried about COVID-19, but many have an additional stress: worrying about the return of spring floods.
On Monday, water levels of the Carillon Canal rose high enough to cause some minor flooding.
Among those keeping a close eye on those water levels was Jennifer Buttars, whose home was damaged by water in 2017.
“We didl ike what they do in hurricane zones,” she said.
Buttars said balancing flood prevention with the physical distancing mandated by the government has been a challenge.
“We know what we need to do, what we're challenging ourselves with right now is how to adapt that plan and execute it in a way that's safe,” she said.
Pierresfonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis said the city is monitoring the situation as warm weather has led to water beginning to creep into some waterfront parks and backyards.
“The water levels are normal... well, higher than they were at this time last year. However, they're stable,” he said.
Beis said crews have been preparing in case of a repeat of the severe floods of 2017 and 2019 that devestated portions of Quebec.
“We've already put installations in on the ground. We're preparing as if there was a flood,” he said.
Montreal firefighters are distribution information pamphlets to 3,000 West Island and Ahuntsic-Cartierville homes warning of the importance of prevention.
“If they have to get some sandbags, we want them to prepare themselves,” said fire department spokesperson Louise Desrosiers. “Don't go when there's going to be a rush.”
Beis said there are unique circumstances presented by COVID-19. He warned that if flooding does occur, some who wish to help could end up being a hinderance.
“We can't have, for example, thousands of people volunteering in close proximity, providing this service for us when we need it,” he said.
Buttars said that's exactly the kind of situation she wants to avoid.
“I don't want a bunch of people coming around here unless I'm absolutely desperate,” she said. “This year, because of COVID, I don't think it's prudent to wait until it's a big issue. We have to back date the planning a bit.”