Gatineau residents are starting to feel some relief after weeks of battling damaging flood waters.

Water levels in Gatineau have dropped by nearly a meter since May 8th, when the river peaked. On Sunday, the change allowed the city of Gatineau to open about 12 streets to either local traffic or the general public. 

On Hurtubise Boulevard, one of the hardest hit streets in the area, homeowners started returning to start the lengthy clean-up process. Much of the road is still closed to traffic, but water levels have dropped off significantly in the last few days. 

Jean D'Aoust has lived on Hurtubise for the last 29 years. He returned home with friends and family Sunday to gut his basement.

"Maybe a few more days here and then I have to wait for it to dry up and then I'm going to call the electrician," he said. "Then the plumber and then I'll have to start all over again."

Curbs outside homes on Hurtubise Boulevard are packed with soiled sandbags and garbage bags filled with water logged clothing, personal items and household materials like dry wall and insulation. 

Roger Sauvé's waterfront home was largely destroyed by the water. He was evacuated from his residence last weekend and returned Sunday to start the repairs.

"Just got back," he said. "Trying to put some stuff out. We lost all the furniture; we have to cut all the walls open throughout the house and remove all the floors."

Sauvé said it will take weeks before he can move back in. 

Household waste 

The city of Gatineau said it will be coming around neighbourhoods affected by the flood zone beginning on Tuesday, May 16 to pick up household and construction waste. Flood victims are encouraged to separate construction and demolition waste from sandbags and garbage. The city said this waste must then be placed at the curb and not in the street or on the sidewalk. 

Sandbag collection

The search is also on for volunteers to help with a major sandbag collection happening next weekend, May 20th and 21st. Volunteers must be over the age of 16 and available for at least two hours. 

More information is available here: 

Garbage collection

Residents affected by the floods will not be required to limit themselves to six items during regular garbage collection. This is in effect for the next two weeks.