• John Jantak

Ste. Anne pays it forward to rugby club for help during recent flood


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

The community has come together to hold off the flood waters and though the worst appears to be over, Mayor Paola Hawa said the town is working to address climate change strategies in the near future.

Mayor provides assessment of city’s response to crisis

The Ste. Anne de Bellevue Rugby Football Club will receive $1,000 from the city for the help the team provided during the recent flooding after a motion was adopted at the Monday evening council meeting on May 13.

“Their support was most valued during the flooding,” Mayor Paola Hawa told The Journal. “It’s a little show of our appreciation.” She praised the team for its dedication and commitment to helping the city during the early days of the flooding crisis. The club also volunteered help during the 2017 flood.

“Those young men and women showed up en force to help and they are a treasure, especially their leader, Martin Silverstone. He’s an exceptional man. Marty is not only teaching the players how to play a sport, he’s also teaching them how to be members of a community and they are awesome. I can’t say enough great things about these people,” said Hawa.

When contacted by The Journal, a modest Silverstone said the team members volunteered their time to help the community, not to receive a financial reward.

“I was shocked when I heard about it. Our people felt really good about helping. It’s not something we expected but we appreciate it. It’s money that will come in handy,” said Silverstone.

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A tale of two lakes

The flooding which began almost four weeks ago has mostly receded on the north side of the Galipeault Bridge next to the Lake of Two Mountains. In contrast, the water level south of the Galipeault on the Lac St. Louis side adjacent to the village is higher.

A small section of the boardwalk was closed to pedestrians last weekend because of the high water. At least two restaurants were running pumps to keep their basements dry. “It’s nothing to be overly concerned about. We’re keeping an eye on the situation,” said Hawa.

“The one thing that I remarked to our Director General Martin Bonhomme is how long the flooding has lasted compared to 2017. It started around April 15 this year. It’s been a long, long stretch. It feels like it’s been forever. I can’t wait until it’s over,” she added.

Early prep work helped

Hawa credits the city’s proactive approach to the possibility of flooding the past two years by beginning its public information campaign to inform residents who could be affected on how to prepare ahead of time. The city began preparing its flood response almost two weeks before flooding actually occurred.

“We started our public information sessions around April 5th,” said Hawa. “We already ordered our sandbags and planned when and where we would put them up. There was some minor tweaking we had to do. We had meetings ahead of time to determine what our strategy would be. We were prepared as much as we could before we were in the thick of things.”

She also congratulated and thanked the municipality’s employees for their commitment to provide help throughout the flood. “They did an excellent job. The testament to that is the fact that no homes had to be evacuated,” said Hawa.

Preparing for future floods

With Ste. Anne and other regional municipalities having to deal with their second flood in two years, Hawa expects the city will have to deal with spring flooding regularly from now on. “Without a doubt. We recently hired someone who will be responsible for climate change strategies. This will be his number one priority,” she said.

The mayor took a reflective stance when told that the experience gained in this year’s flood would help when future floods occur. “Isn’t that a sad statement?” said Hawa.

“It’s positive and good that we’ll be better prepared but it’s just the fact that we’re going to have to go through this again and again and again. It’s a heavy load for the city and I’m also thinking about the residents that have to go through this stress. It’s not going to be pleasant for them,” added Hawa.

See more photos on our Facebook page.

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