• James Armstrong

Recovery from flood damage continues in Rigaud


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Seven months after the event, some Rigaud flood victims are seeing progress in the resolution of their financial assistance cases with the Quebec government including demolition permits. An example is the Sauvé family home on Grand Quai Street.

Seven months after being hit by major flooding, the Town of Rigaud continues to deal with the effect it has had on many residents in the flood zone bordering the Ottawa River. Financial aid for flood victims continues to be provided by the Quebec government but the application process has proven to be complicated and slow.

“It is a system that was built to handle 150 cases per year and now it’s dealing with 2000 cases,” said Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. on Wednesday, December 6.

According to the mayor, the program administered by the Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) makes no provision for municipalities to be lenient in the application of municipal by-laws and permits in order to expedite the situation.

“I know it’s not easy and that it’s complicated but what I want to do is make the system work so we can close some of these files,” he added.

For resident Yannick Sauvé and his family, the end of that process appears to be in sight as the demolition of their family home will be completed by Friday, December 8.

“We are taking down the house and giving the pieces to anyone who needs them,” Sauvé said. The house, located on Grand Quai Road, has served as the Sauvé family home for 50 years.

“It was built by my father and grandfather in 1966-67,” said Sauvé of the home that isn’t situated on the riverbank but further inland like many homes in the neighbourhood.

“The water came in across the fields from the river,” he said noting that his neighbour is in a similar situation. As is the case with other residents, Sauvé will not be constructing a new home on the site. He and his family have relocated to another house in Rigaud and the land of his former home will become the property of the town.

“It took a long time, and it was very painful,” said Sauvé describing the process of applying for the MSP program. “It was difficult contacting an agent to get information. I think they had too many files and not enough people to handle them,” he said.

The loss of their family home has had an emotional impact as well.

“We are grieving its loss,” he said adding that it helps knowing that his family is healthy and moving forward. Yannick Sauvé and his father, the late Michel Sauvé, served as councillors for the Town of Rigaud.

An information meeting for Rigaud flood victims is being held Thursday, December 7 at 7 p.m. in the Édifice Paul-Brasseur, 10 rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste Est. Those planning to attend are requested to call (450) 451-0869 #235.

“It’s a meeting about making temporary repairs before winter,” said Gruenwald.

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