Gatineau flood clean-up begins
Published Saturday, May 25, 2019 4:18PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 25, 2019 6:45PM EDT
Nearly two months after historic flooding began in Gatineau, cleanup is underway.
Residents began clearing debris and sandbags from the properties for disposal at depots across the city.
The flooding may have ended but the mess remains. The city handed out nearly a million sandbags this year; triple the amount they needed in 2017 to hold back the rushing water, some residents say rose 3 metres from the previous year.
While many longtime residents in Gatineau picked up the pieces, others wondered how many more of these floods they can withstand.
“The water's gone, everything's gone. But the mental stress and distress is unimaginable,” said Michel Papineau, who has lived in Gatineau for 14 years in a heritage home along the Ottawa River on Rue Jacques-Cartier.
”I've seen a number of people come out of the water crying; they've lost everything, it's very difficult.“
Michel Papineau considers himself one of the lucky ones; he raised his home more than 2 metres after flooding in 2017.
Thierry Simonet loaded sandbags onto his tractor with help from family; removing stacked sandbag walls that protected his home in the backyard he now calls a swamp.
Pumps worked at full speed, Simonet said, his home likely would’ve been flooded too. Simonet is praying he won’t have to re-live the horror.
“I cross my fingers,” said Simonet.
Others remain fearful record-flooding is the new norm,” I just hope it doesn’t happen again, but I think it will,” said Sitare Ertuna,
The City of Gatineau will be collecting the nearly 900,000 sandbags over the course of the next two weeks. The City of Ottawa has yet to announce a pickup schedule for its sandbags more than 1 million sandbags.