Flooding across the region drives hundreds from their homes
Flooding across the region has driven some people from their homes, causing riverbanks to collapse, basements to fill with water and homeowners to frantically sandbag against rising river water.
Areas along the Ottawa River, from Cumberland all the way to Constance Bay, and in Gatineau to the north, are dealing with the highest water levels in decades.
East of the city, in Cumberland, on Leo Lane, water is rising by the hour. At least one resident is being put up in a hotel by the Red Cross. In nearby Rockland, residents are sandbagging along the low-lying Voisine Road.
West of the city, in Constance Bay, locals say they haven't seen the river this high in two decades.
And up the Ottawa Valley, about two hours west of Ottawa, in Combermere, cottage and home owners are experiencing the devastation of landslides.
“This is my home. I’ve lived here 22-years,” homeowner Betty Sherman said as she frantically packed clothes and pictures, “I didn’t think we were going to be this close to it.”
“It’s a disaster,” her husband Ted told CTV News as he watched the couple’s deck, dock and several 50-foot trees wash away.
The Shermans' house is among 17 homes and cottages under a mandatory evacuation order along the shoreline at Pine Cliff Resort on Kamaniskeg Lake, just west of Barry’s Bay.
The lake, along the Madawaska River system, is feeling pressure from the release of the Bark Lake dam upstream.
Ontario Power Generation says the dam is at capacity and they have no choice but to release the water.
“It’s something that I wouldn’t wish on anybody, just to see things collapse as fast as they did,” said resort owner Brian Allingham. “We’re just hoping we don’t lose any more property.”
Allingham has been dealing with the disaster for nearly two weeks.
His home nearly disappeared on April 21st, municipal crews and a nearby construction company, helped to load rock to stabilize the shoreline. Since then two more landslides have taken place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Allingham is paying out of pocket for construction crews to help save the shoreline. Since insurance won’t cover it, he’s asking the Ontario government to pitch in through the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance program and the Disaster Recovery Assistance.
Ontario’s Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro won’t make any promises.
“It’s really difficult for us to make an assessment unit the waters have subsided,” he said Wednesday at Queen's Park.
Closer to Ottawa, in Gatineau, more than 140 people have evacuated their homes and water levels are more than two metres high in some areas.
The city of Gatineau says firefighters have carried out close to 500 visits since Monday to people affected by flooding. Crews have distributed more than 45,000 sandbags since Monday, with 28,000 more empty bags ready to be filled.
With 50 mm of rain possible by this weekend, according to Environment Canada, Fauteux fears the worst is not over.
“I hope it won’t go to the first floor, it looks like it’s going to be a big situation to look after.”
Those seeking shelter from the flood are invited to the Jean-René-Monette Community Centre at 89 Jean-René-Monette St.
Red Cross is on site to assist those looking for sleeping arrangements. To date, the city of Gatineau says more than 80 have been looked after.
More information from the city of Gatineau is available here.