• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion mayor gives post-mortem on 2019 flood


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion will maintain the temporary concrete dike placed along St. Charles Avenue even though flood waters from the Lake of Two Mountains have receded considerably. Another 35 millimetres of rain is forecast by the end of the week.

Even though flood waters are finally receding throughout the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region, Vaudreuil-Dorion isn’t taking down their temporary concrete dike barriers just yet. City officials are taking a cautious stance as a storm system is forecast to bring another 35 millimeters of rain into the region by the end of the week. A different weather system is forecast to bring up to another 25 millimeters next Monday and Tuesday.

For Mayor Guy Pilon, the city’s vigilant and pro-active posture is what kept the city mostly dry during the recent flooding that began three weeks ago. The mayor gave a post-mortem of the flood, the situation that unfolded, and the city’s prompt response to the challenge at the start of the Monday evening council meeting on May 7.

Maintaining vigilance

While Pilon reported that the water level in the Lake of Two Mountains has been receding five to eight centimetres each day and the city lifted its state of emergency decree, he prefers to remain cautious just in case water levels rise again unexpectedly. The cancellation of the state of emergency means the town is no longer on a high alert, code red status.

“The water is going down very slowly, a lot slower than in 2017. We’re keeping an eye on everything. We’re looking at some more rain and we’ll see how it goes, but the thing that can be most damaging for us is the wind. We want to be very careful before we remove anything. We’re now in code yellow status. If everything goes well, by next week we will put everything back to code green,” Pilon told The Journal.

Wind-driven waves problematic

It’s not the rain so much that concerns city officials because the city’s flood barriers are still in place. But the wind-driven waves could affect lakefront streets by possibly spilling water over roads and causing erosion especially along Chemin des Chenaux and Chemin de l’Anse. “We know from experience wind can cause a lot of damage within a short time period,” said Pilon.

The decreasing water levels, especially along the Quinchien River, means that Saint-Charles Avenue is reopened to traffic between Rue Léger and Rue Paul Gérin-Lajoie. High water levels along the river forced Transport Quebec to close the Quinchien Bridge for several days.

Early preparations helped

Even though flood waters crested about four centimetres higher in the Lake of Two Mountains than in 2017, the city’s early preparations helped to lessen the severity of the flood this year.

“The big difference was the dike we built on Saint-Charles. It held millions of litres of water. We succeeded in keeping open the two high schools, two primary schools, two kindergartens and three seniors’residences. This is because we managed to keep Saint-Charles Avenue open. If we hadn’t put in the dike, it would have been worse than it was in 2017,” said Pilon.

Mayor Pilon again extended his thanks to all the city’s employees who helped during the disaster and especially the hundreds of volunteers who donated their time to help fill and deliver sand bags to people affected by the flood.

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