Help centre opens for Pontiac flood victims still seeking answers

A support centre has opened in Pontiac, Que., to provide assistance to dozens of west Quebec residents still seeking answers after this spring's catastrophic floods.

Mayor says phones have 'never stopped ringing' since floods hit this spring

A help centre for victims of this spring's flooding in the Outaouais has opened at the Luskville Library in Pontiac, Que. (Estelle Coté-Sroka/CBC)

A support centre has opened in Pontiac, Que., to provide assistance to dozens of west Quebec residents still seeking answers after this spring's catastrophic floods.

Starting today, legal aid lawyers, social workers, Canadian Red Cross volunteers and representatives from the Quebec government will be among the support workers stationed at the Luskville Library from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

Flood victims will be able to ask about decisions made by Quebec's public security ministry and the Pontiac municipality following the spring devastation — including how the compensation and reconstruction processes are going.

"This is a very difficult time for them. They've been uncertain about what's going on for several months now," said Meghan Lewis, who is in charge of flood relief assistance with the municipality.

"Our goal is just to reassure them, give them resources that can support them through this difficult time, answer their questions, [help them] understand the whole process a little bit more. Because it can be complicated for certain people."

Flooding in the Pontiac region of west Quebec in May 2017. (Estelle Coté-Sroka/CBC)

Eligible for disaster funding

In April, the province announced that 10 west Quebec municipalities, including the Pontiac, would be eligible for disaster funding to help pay for damage to homes and municipal infrastructure that wasn't covered by insurance.

The municipality decided to open the support centre, said Pontiac Mayor Roger Larose, after noticing the phones had "never stopped ringing" with people in need of answers regarding flood compensation.

"We can't give them answers because we don't have anything either," Larose said.

"People are tired, fed up. They want to know what their future is going to be — if they have to move, if they have to look for another place. They need to know now."

Larose said it was also important that support services come to people in the Pontiac, rather than forcing flood victims to seek help in Gatineau.

The municipality said it's hoping to issue permits as early as next week so people can start rebuilding their homes.