Most of the 6,000 people who had to flee their homes on the weekend are being allowed back home, but they are being told to to stay since there is no electricity, and the tap water is unsafe to drink.
Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac Mayor Sonia Paulus said that residents furthest from the dike were allowed home as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, but that residents in the 870 houses closest to the Lake of Two Mountains would have to wait.
Many people came in earlier to begin sifting through the wreckage. Lyne Deschatelets was one of the first Sainte-Marthe-Sur-Le-Lac residents to head home after the flooding.
"It's the kind of thing that you always tell yourself: 'This cannot happen to me. This is impossible,'" she said.
She found that everything on her ground floor was soaked, and the high-water mark was about a metre off the ground.
"I feel really bad because since we are here we've done a lot of renovations on this house, spent a lot of money. Just last year we renovated everything on the ground floor, so the floor, the kitchen, the stairs, all was new, and now no more things," said Deschatelets.
She said at this point she would strongly consider leaving her home of nine years and accepting a buyout from the provincial government, although she was just taking life hour-by-hour at the moment.
Last week, Premier Francois Legault said the government would offer up to people $200,000 to get out of flooded homes.
"It depends the amount they will give us," said Deschatelets. "For a lot of people it basically means bankruptcy. Because our house was worth more than that."
Can't comprehend level of destruction
Valerie Deslauriers was one of the people who returned home to find everything was gone.
She recorded herself over the weekend as she kayaked home and was able to enter her house in a boat.
"I was kayaking in my kitchen. It's still difficult for me to just hear that video and relive the moment. I just burst into tears because I realized I lost it all," said Deslauriers.
"I was in complete denial. I felt like I was in dream this was unreal. I was kayaking in my street. I was seeing cars completely under the water."
She said she cannot move out because the offer from the provincial government would leave her financially under water.
"For a lot of people it basically means bankruptcy. Because our house was worth more than that," said Deslauriers.
Dike failed on Saturday
Crews have been working on the dike on the north end of Frayere Park and had fully repaired it on Tuesday.
When that dike breached on Saturday water flooded into the town, forcing the evacuation of one-third of residents.
Since then emergency crews have reinforced two other dikes and they have been pumping water out of the flooded zone.
Mayor Paulus said there was no negligence in dealing with the dike.
She said the town had identified the dike as a weak point two years ago and had been trying to get provincial funding to reinforce it, but still hadn't managed to negotiate a response from the bureaucracy.