Montreal

More than 100 Quebec flood victims still living in hotels

Quebec's public security ministry told Radio-Canada that some $41 million has already been allocated to victims and 6,000 cases have been opened.  People living in nearly 200 municipalities are eligible to apply for government assistance.

Victims waiting for government compensation, housing inspections

Mégane Bélec visits her destroyed home often, looking back on memories growing up in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac . Now she is living with her boyfriend several kilometres away. (Radio-Canada)

More than two months after the floods that hit Quebec, 122 families are still staying in hotels, according to the Red Cross.

Nearly 60 per cent of these victims are in Gatineau and another 30 per cent are from Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac.

"There's still a lot of pain," said Mégane Bélec, 17, with tears in her eyes as she recalls growing up in her Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac home with her sister and mother. 

"It's hard, but we don't have a  choice."

She estimates the home and all the belongings within suffered $100,000 worth of damage, but her family hasn't received any government assistance yet.

Since April, she has lived with her boyfriend in Saint-Eustache, occasionally travelling to her childhood home to look back on her life growing up in the now flood-ravaged property.

"We come back here often to remember the memories, to see the neighbours again," she said.

Millions allocated to victims

Quebec's public security ministry told Radio-Canada that some $41 million has already been allocated to victims and 6,000 cases have been opened.  People living in nearly 200 municipalities are eligible to apply for government assistance.

In comparison, the government received 6,172 requests for aid after the 2017 flooding.

This spring, it is estimated that 13,500 people were forced out of their homes. In most cases, the evacuation was temporary.

In total, nearly 10,000 buildings were affected this spring. That number continues to rise as more applications for government assistance are filed.

Construction and renovations to flood-damaged properties has also been delayed by the province's flood zone maps, which the government is in the midst of redrawing.

The flood maps show "special intervention zones," where both reconstruction and new construction are on hold.

Expanding flood zones puts victims' future in jeopardy as they learn they may not even be able to rebuild under the new regulations.

Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac resident Sylvain Séguin got sick of living in a Laval hotel and decided to move back home, but not into his flooded house. Instead, he's living in a trailer. (Radio-Canada)

With complaints piling up about the new flood maps, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said earlier this month that it is making adjustments to "better reflect reality."

Camping out in front of home

A few blocks away from Bélec, Sylvain Séguin has chosen to camp out in front of his home instead of sleeping at a hotel in Laval. 

"We are still at the hotel with the Red Cross, but it is not pleasant," he told Radio Canada and he is often forced to move to a new hotel week after week. "So I got a trailer and I'm installing it."

In Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Red Cross office is still open and co-ordinator Sylvie Mayeu says some people just need somebody to listen. (Radio-Canada)

That trailer is a pop-up camper, set up in the shadow of a wrecked home.

Waiting hurts, he said. He is waiting for inspectors to determine what is to be done with his property — repair or demolish. The process shouldn't have taken more than two weeks, he said, but it's been more than two months.

In Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, the Red Cross office is still open, offering assistance.

Co-ordinator Sylvie Mayeu said people come to seek comfort and somebody to talk to. They also come looking for accommodation renewal and food. 

"People are resilient," she said. "They live from day to day with what they have. Many still smile, life goes on and it's one step at a time."

With files from Radio-Canada

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