Outaouais towns keep close eye on rising water levels

Municipalities in the Outaouais region are keeping a close eye on local waterways after water levels rose significantly over the past few days.

'We want to be proactive and not get our two feet caught in the water,' says Saint-André-Avellin mayor

Authorities in Saint-André-Avellin, Que. say they are not afraid of severe damage caused by floods, despite the flooding of the Petite-Nation River. (Radio-Canada )

Municipalities in the Outaouais region of Quebec, including Saint-André-Avellin and Pontiac, are keeping a close eye on local waterways after water levels rose significantly over the past few days.

"We've started to follow the changes in the water for a good week," said Jean-René Carrière, mayor of Saint-André-Avellin.

"We want to be proactive and not get our two feet caught in the water."

The municipality began preparing and distributing sandbags Friday so that residents could build dikes to prevent flooding. 

Mayor of Saint-André-Avellin, Jean-René Carrière, said the municipality is ready for any possible floods. (Radio-Canada )

The mayor said that 100 of the 500 bags available have already been distributed.

"We opened our office for emergency measures," Carrière said in a French-language interview.

"We will stay alert until the water levels falls below 1.67 and 1.7 meters."

Province keeping close eye on waters, MP says 

Pontiac Mayor Joanne Labadie said her municipality is in the same boat and is also preparing sandbags.

Pontiac Mayor Joanne Labadie said she is disappointed because few people came to get sandbags despite the fact that water levels could still rise in the next few days. (Radio-Canada)

"The river can go up another 30 to 50 centimetres," she warned. "I suggest people get ready for that over the next 72 hours."

The provincial government is also keeping a close eye on the waters, said Alexandre Iracà, the Liberal MP for Papineau.

"After what happened last year, we've learned a lot," Iracà said in a French-language interview.

"We hired a regional director specifically for civil security… [and] we are more on the lookout for what may come."

Liberal MP for Papineau, Alexandre Iracà, said the province has learned from the historic floods of 2017. ( Radio-Canada)

Both Carrière and Iracà said they predict this year's flood will not be as troublesome as 2017, and that flooding should be minimal in the area.

"We anticipate fewer flooded houses," Carrière said. "The temperature seems to be helping us this year. We expect seven or eight houses [flooded] in the village."

With files from Antoine Trépanier and Estelle Côté-Sroka