• John Jantak

Senneville residents begin flood recovery process


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Piles of used sandbags that were used during the recent flood sit in the parking lot at the George McLeish Community Centre in Senneville.

The water level in the Lake of Two Mountains has receded substantially and Senneville residents affected by the unprecedented flooding more than two weeks ago are starting to recover, said Mayor Jane Guest as she read from a prepared statement about the situation during the Tuesday evening council meeting, May 23.

“We’ve just been through a very stressful and trying period,” Guest told council. “Senneville wasn’t spared. It wasn’t as bad as some of the other towns that were badly affected like Pierrefonds, Rigaud and Hudson, but it’s still no consolation to the people who were hit, mostly 20 different properties along the waterfront and there were a number of voluntary evacuations as a result.”

Unprecedented situation

It was an unprecedented situation for the town as flood waters crested above their banks leaving some homeowners scrambling to save their houses. With limited resources to deal with the developing situation, the municipality received offers of immediate assistance from Côte-Saint-Luc and Pointe-Claire.

“The town was really put to a test in this situation. The last time something similar happened, but not nearly as extreme, was back in 1974. Certainly for this administration, it was a first. The emergency was extremely well handled by our staff, blue collar workers, and the volunteers who came to help us from Pointe-Claire and Côte-Saint-Luc,” said Guest.

Several local demerged municipalities also came forward to offer help, but they weren’t required because of the assistance that was already being provided, said Guest.

Proactive municipal response

Both Guest and Town Manager Vanessa Roach were proactive throughout the ordeal, visiting homes and advising residents on what they should do if the situation deteriorated further and of the various emergency services that were available, including sandbag delivery.

“It was a very unpleasant situation, not nearly as bad as it was in some of the other municipalities I mentioned, but that’s small consolation when you’ve been hit,” said Guest. “There were a lot of nervous people wondering how far the water was going to go but we were able to get a lot of great help which was very reassuring. Some of the councillors were implicated as well.”

District 1 Councillor François Vaqué who handles the village’s public security dossier said there was an amazing sense of community throughout the ordeal which included volunteers from the local Neighbourhood Watch who all came together to help each other.

Looters deterred

Senneville also received extra public security personnel from Pointe-Claire who conducted 24-hour-a-day patrols throughout the affected areas to stave off possible looters at the few houses that were voluntarily evacuated.

The situation also highlighted the need for residents to be adequately prepared if a similar situation arises in the future. “A lot of people are buying generators for back-ups. It was a wake-up call for many people and we understand they were under a lot of pressure,” said Guest.

“Hopefully it won’t happen again, at least not for a very long time. But the thing is that with climate change, and other factors, it probably will so I think that everybody knows that they need a sump pump if they live in certain areas and they should always make sure they’re in working order,” Guest added.

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