Quebec municipalities using lessons learned from last spring's historic floods

Last spring, city officials across Quebec found themselves dealing with historic flooding in their municipalities and the aftermath a year later.

"We know it was flooding of extraordinary proportions," said Pierrefonds-Roxboro mayor Jim Beis. 

"I think the most challenging part for any community was the speed that the water rose and flooded neighbourhoods."

Jim Beis said it was a matter of protecting lives first, then property as well as trying to get equipment such as pumps that were in high demand.

"All our resources, every single resource of the borough was used to address the situation," Beis said in an interview with CJAD 800 News.

Some said the borough was slow to act or mishandled certain situations.

"In no way did we ever leave any area unattended," said Beis.

"We did everything humanly possible to try to assist in anyway that we could."

And since then, they've amped up flood protection measures.

"The reinforcement of our natural dikes, the purchasing and stockpiling of 30,000 bags, of sand," said Beis, adding that they even bought portable flood barriers.

"Before, we would need maybe tens of thousands of bags; now at a moment's notice, we would be able to react a little more effectively."

They've also tweaked their communication system. Over the past couple of weeks, the borough posted flood prevention videos on their Facebook page and fire and city officials went door-to-door with information pamphlets.

"We've taken a lot of steps to improve our reaction time should we have anything like this in the future," said Beis.

And he added that like their experience with the Ice Storm...

"Whenever you have a crisis of this magnitude, you learn from it."