Landslide risk for riverside homes in Pointe-Fortune
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
The possibility of landslides in Pointe-Fortune along the banks of the Ottawa River is a major concern for Mayor François Bélanger and has led to the evacuation of 19 homes.
Nineteen Pointe-Fortune homes are threatened with the possibility of a landslide and 34 residents that live in them are having to find shelter elsewhere, either provided by family and friends, or the Red Cross in Rigaud. The houses are situated along a narrow band of land bordering the west bank of the Ottawa River less than a kilometre east of the Carillon Hydro Electric Power Dam in the heart of the town.
“The situation for these homes is different,” said Mayor François Bélanger during a press conference held Tuesday, May 9, outside the Pointe-Fortune Town Hall. The residents began leaving their homes as they were flooded by the rising Ottawa River that reached critical levels from Saturday, May 6, onward. Although the floodwaters have since receded somewhat, authorities are now concerned with the stability of the ground beneath the houses.
Bélanger described the soil in the area as having high clay content and that it is now very wet and is under assault by the currents of the elevated level of the river.
“I know it is difficult to leave our homes,” he said emphasizing that the town is there to support the evacuees through the difficult time created by this disaster. He assured everyone that the situation is constantly being evaluated but was not able to estimate a date of return.
YLJ FILE PHOTO/CARMEN MARIE FABIO
The rising Ottawa River was already breaching its banks on Chemin des Outaouais when this photo was taken April 21.
Mayor Bélanger said it’s difficult to assess the amount of erosion that has taken place because the water levels are too high. “We have to wait until it retreats before we can be certain of the situation,” he said. According to the mayor, some residents have left of their own accord as they saw the situation developing and others have to be encouraged to make the move.
Bélanger expressed deep appreciation on behalf of himself and the town to all of the volunteers who have helped out in recent days and continue to offer their services. “We have a great team of volunteers who offered a hand to other citizens when they needed it. Thanks to you, that situation has stabilized,” said Bélanger.
He also thanked the Town of Rigaud, the Sûreté du Québec, the Municipalité Régionale de Comté de Vaudreuil–Soulanges (MRC-VS) and the Ministry of Transport. Bélanger said he was very grateful to Lucie Charlebois, Deputy for Soulanges for her help and support especially for meeting with people in the area throughout the disaster.
MRC-VS Prefect Jean A. Lalonde and Communications Director Simon Richard were on site to lend a hand. Lalonde made the point that all the members of the MRC-VS have been providing assistance across the region since the beginning of the flood.