Dike should have been fixed sooner: Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac residents
Premier François Legault says the dike in Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac that failed over the weekend had repairs scheduled for this coming fall.
But at a morning news conference in Quebec City on Tuesday, he added no one anticipated the dike would burst, flooding large sections of the town in a matter of minutes.
Speaking on LCN on Tuesday morning, Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said there were emergency repairs done on the dike in question in 2009, after the Environment Ministry noted a serious problem with it.
The dike held during the flooding in 2017, and back then, the town's mayor, Sonia Paulus, petitioned the government to make the dike higher — which the government never followed up on. Guilbault insisted the request was only received by the government in February, and repair work was ordered — but wouldn't actually begin until the fall.
'I feel like I've been sacrificed'
Local residents who are dealing with a devastated town and flooded homes, meanwhile, insist nobody should have been dragging their feet on repairs, especially after the floods in 2017 hit many of their neighbors.
"In THIS February? When in 2017, we saw what happened with our neighbors in Two Mountains?", local resident George Legault told CJAD 800. "They're dry now. They pushed everything they could to prevent [another flood]. They're dry. We should have learned from them."
Following the dike failure, work began on two containment dams were built to stop the flow of flood water into the community. Those new dams allowed officials to start pumping significant amounts of water out, but another resident, Evelyne Filion, says she wonders how the water got into the community in the first place.
"I feel like I've been sacrificed," she said. "I don't like that."
Others say they're seriously considering taking the government's offer of a $200,000 buyout to move away to drier pastures.
Legault won't criticize
Premier Legault, meanwhile, told the news conference he won't cricitize anyone for the failure of the dike.
"I don't think at this morning we can blame whoever," Legault said. "For sure, we will maje a post-mortem and ask questions on dikes in general throughout the province.
Meanwhile, thousands of people will be able to return to their homes on Tuesday afternoon to inspect the damage, and collect valuables if need be.
Water levels dropping, minister says
Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault says as of Tuesday morning, water levels are either stable or receding right across the province, except for communities along the Ottawa River and the Lake of Two Mountains.
A total of 6,681 homes remain flooded and more than 10,000 people are now under evacuation orders — including the more than 6,000 who were forced to clear out of Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac over the weekend.
CJAD 800's Matt Gilmour contributed to this report.
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