• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion flood waters recede – no change in new city hall location


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Flood waters from Vaudreuil Bay surround the structure at 405 Avenue St. Charles the site of the new proposed Vaudreuil-Dorion city hall on May 7. Mayor Guy Pilon said even though water encroached inland, the current structure and adjacent seniors’ residence were never flooded.

Vaudreuil-Dorion’s emergency response personnel and the hundreds of volunteers who pitched in to help during the city’s flood crisis that peaked in intensity almost two weeks ago were thanked for their efforts by Mayor Guy Pilon at the Monday evening council meeting, May 15.

During a pre-meeting assessment of the city’s response, Treasurer Marco Pilon told the more than 30 residents in the council chamber that the city constantly monitored the developing situation and provided immediate assistance when requested. Fifty homes had various levels of flooding and 12 residents were evacuated.

Volunteers wanted for clean-up

With flood waters receding, the city is devoting its energy to the big clean-up and getting its parks and various outdoor recreational spots in order for the return of normal activities this summer. To help residents affected by the flood clean up their properties and remove sandbags, the city is asking for volunteers to lend a hand this Saturday at City Hall on 2555 Dutrisac at 9 a.m.

Residents who were forced out of their homes are also required to contact the city first so that a structural engineer can visit the property with the occupants to determine its structural integrity. Bilingual information regarding post-flood protocol and volunteering is available on the city’s website at www.ville.vaudreuil-dorion.qc.ca/fr/la-ville/information/actualites

Amazing volunteer support

When asked by a resident how the city managed to respond so quickly to the developing crisis, Mayor Pilon credited the ongoing training carried out by its fire department, first responders, public security and other civil defence and municipal personnel, who regularly practice various simulated scenarios to deal with possible emergencies that could develop.

Personnel responded to situations as they were reported to assess basement flooding, divert traffic from flooded roads and ensure other flooded streets were kept passable by spreading a temporary top layer of crushed stone.

The “amazing and tremendous” outpouring of community spirit that saw at least 1,150 volunteers offer their help and support to those in need throughout the weeklong ordeal also made a big difference in helping minimize flood damage, said Pilon.

Record flood

At its height, the water level in Vaudreuil Bay crested to a record height of 24.66 metres, the same level that was reached across the bay along the northwest shore of Terrasse-Vaudreuil on Île Perrot on May 7. It was the highest level ever measured since record keeping began in the 1920s and forced the closure of the Galipeault Bridge for two days.

While most of the flooding was confined along the shore of Vaudreuil Bay, flooding also unexpectedly occurred a bit further inland where pools of water accumulated along several roadways and around a few homes because of oversaturated ground water levels.

No change in city hall plans

Despite the flood, Mayor Pilon said there has been no change in venue for the new city hall proposed for 405 Avenue St. Charles. “It’s still the number one location,” Pilon told Your Local Journal.

While there was substantial flooding inland from Vaudreuil Bay that inundated a large stretch of Avenue St. Charles adjacent to Parc de la Paix, Pilon said that neither the building that currently sits on site or the two-storey seniors’ residence next to it were flooded.

“The rest of the land was unaffected, just like we said which is why we chose this location. It was never under water. Right now the city hall is not the main issue. All our efforts are focused on helping people who have been affected by the flood. They want to go back to their regular life and we will continue to work on this for the next two-to-three weeks,” said Pilon.

Mayoral candidate Pierre Séguin and leader of the opposition municipal political party Team we are has already cited the possibility of flooding numerous times as one of several reasons why Pilon and council should reconsider their decision to build on the current site, which was announced less than one week before the record flood occurred.

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