In Gatineau, the number of flood victims continues to rise along with the flood waters. So far, nearly 1800 people have been impacted. Highways, too, are being affected by the flooding. Construction crews out on Highway 50 in Gatineau are at two different locations for road repairs. The work and lane closures affecting the rush hour commute. For many folks in the flood zone, who have decided to remain in their homes, the commute isn’t by cars these days but by boat.
From the comfort of his living room, Jacques Béland watches the latest news on the floods affecting our region; affecting him, too. The view from his balcony on Blais Street in Pointe Gatineau shows water each way he turns. Every day, he watches the flood waters rise around him, knowing the river hasn't peaked yet.
“It's not the worst yet,” he says.
CTV News first caught up with Jacques Béland last Friday as he was loading up a boat with provisions for the week, determined to stay in his home.
“We're okay, we got to keep our morale up,” he says, “Once we've got that, we're perfect.”
Today, he is in remarkably good spirits in spite of the odds against him. With 4 pumps working non-stop, he and his wife are keeping dry.
“If they don't cut power,” he says, “we're not moving, we're staying right here.”
Jacques has lived there 27 years; his downstairs neighbor, not so long and not so lucky. His basement apartment is flooded.
“It is scary,” says Pierre Paul, “We don't sleep that much. And I have a broken leg. But I got to do what I got to do to survive I guess.”
As of today, the city of Gatineau had registered nearly 1800 flood victims and 840 houses have been evacuated.
And the mayor of Gatineau put out an urgent appeal to property managers for any short-term rentals for flood victims, saying the availability of units was already an issue.
“We want to create a bank of available rentals,” Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said at a news conference, asking for property managers with available units for singles or families to contact the city.
Our guide into this devastation zone is retired paramedic Yvon Ferland who is using his Argo to ferry flood victims. We pass by multiple empty lots, covered chest deep in water. There used to be houses there, about 30 of them in that area alone Ferland explains. They were torn down after the flood of 2017 and Ferland expects many more will succumb after the flood waters recede this time.
“The tragedy is all around and these people been through that two years ago,” says Ferland, “To see them go through it again, it's terrible. Very terrible.”
Today, Ferland is giving Michel Lafleur a tow back to his flooded home. Lafleur explains that they just finished raising the foundation to their property in December.
“$150,000 and still counting,” he says, “So we'll see if it holds.”
Jacques Béland is holding out hope too, as he stands at his door, waving good-bye. He figures hope, at least, is something still within his control.