• James Armstrong

Rigaud’s state of emergency lifted


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

This section of Rigaud between Pointe-Séguin and the Rigaud River was one of the areas inundated over the past week and while some residents were able to make the trek in and out to check on the state of their homes, others chose to evacuate until the water levels recede.

The state of emergency announced Thursday, April 20, concerning flooding of residences along the Ottawa River has been lifted late in the day April 26.

“We have strategic meetings every day and that’s where we consult with Public Security, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the Red Cross, Public Works, the Communications department and the Fire Department. That’s where we make that decision,” said Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr.

Gruenwald was given a bird’s eye view of the flood zone Tuesday, April 25, thanks to a tour by helicopter provided by the SQ.

Photo courtesy Ville de Rigaud

“It was very impressive. It gave me a chance to verify the whole thing altogether,” he said. “I can understand why some people affected by the flood are emotionally stressed by the situation,” he added. Although the floodwaters are beginning to recede, many residences continue to be isolated by water.

Information Sessions

There are four upcoming scheduled information sessions for residents affected by the flooding: Friday, April 28, from 4 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, April 29, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and 1 to 3 p.m.

All of the meetings will be held at the Friendship Room of the Paul-Brasseur Building, 10 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street East in Rigaud.

The sessions are to discuss all aspects of the disaster, financial assistance, and municipal regulations.

“These are not meetings for the general public,” said the mayor. Citizens must register for one of the four sessions by calling (450) 451-0869 ext. 235.

Security

Evacuated and flood zone areas are under continual surveillance on land and water by the SQ according to the mayor. “I went to Rigaud-sur-le-Lac this morning and was stopped by an officer who asked who I was and where I was going,” recounted Gruenwald. He noted that, to date, there have not been any break-ins or thefts reported in the evacuated areas.

“The provincial police are taking this situation very, very seriously,” he added.

Community Support

The mayor said residents in the flooded areas along the Ottawa River experience high water levels every spring.

“This year, however, the water kept on rising,” he said. “We decided to act before we had 20 or 30 serious problems on our hands.” Gruenwald credits the entire team of people at all levels of government for the highly organized intervention process. He commended the involvement of town employees, the SQ, the support of neighbouring communities, and many others. “We had a call from a congregation in Green Valley, Ontario. They want to send volunteers to help out with anything needed,” he said. Director of Recreational and Community Services Véronique Cunche is compiling a list of names of those wanting to volunteer services or donate goods or money.

Language Issues

When asked about all the notices and information regarding a public security situation being published in French only, the mayor responded the municipality is officially unilingual. “We don’t have bilingual status so all communications are published in French. However, if someone contacts us in English, they are answered in English.” He said the 24-hour emergency telephone line (450-451-0869 extension 235) also provides service in English.

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