Post flood discussions at monthly Rigaud council meeting


PHOTO BY JULES-PIERRE MALARTRE

Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. (second from left) answers a question regarding plans for an alternate road preventing some downriver residents from being landlocked during floods.

In the wake of last month’s flooding, things were almost back to business as usual during the June 12 council meeting in Rigaud, except for a few residents who showed up to air their discontent over lingering flood issues.

Resident Roland Gilbert took a moment to congratulate the city for its handling of the emergency during the unprecedented flood. Gilbert also stated that Rigaud Mountain residents suffered torrential rains that came pouring down the mountain’s main arteries. “Ditches had to be dug quickly. Will the city work on a development plan for the mountain’s main arteries to finalize the work that was begun with all those emergency ditches?” he asked.

“Since the flood, a coordination committee was put in place at the MRC level,” Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. answered. “This committee is permanent and it will handle floods, forest fires, landslides…. With climate changes, all sorts of things can happen. The best defense against such things is to be prepared to deal with anything.”

“All those questions will be addressed during the preparation of the sustainable development plan,” General Manager Chantal Lemieux added.

“Residents will be invited to public consultations, so that they can state their preoccupations. We reacted to an emergency. We saw that our infrastructures cannot handle (such volumes of water).”

Mayor Gruenwald added, “the political will to change things, to improve things, is there.”

Another resident raised the issue of landlocked residents during the flood. A number of bay area residents were cut off from the rest of the city even though their homes were not flooded. The idea of a secondary access road had been previously considered and the recent flooding underlined the importance of building such a road.

“Recommendations were made,” Gruenwald said, “but we need certifications and authorizations from the Ministry of the Environment to raise the road. We don’t have them yet. No concrete project has been presented yet, because we are waiting for a governmental decree on how to manage this situation and the decisions that need to be taken. I have told the Ministry of the Environment that if people are to continue living in the downstream area of the river that environmental laws need to be relaxed in order to serve sectors that will never be flooded, but that ended up being cut-off from the city during such natural disasters.”

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