Residents of flooded Quebec City neighbourhood return to icy properties

Around 70 residents were allowed back into the Duberger-Les Saules neighbourhood on Saturday, where the nearby St. Charles River overflowed last week-end.

Water levels dropped on Saturday, allowing around 70 people back into their homes

Officials with Quebec's civil security are expected to go door-to-door over the weekend to assess the damage. (Alice Chiche/Radio-Canada)

Residents who were forced out of their homes in Quebec City's Duberger-Les Saules neighbourhood on Jan. 12 were able to go back Saturday and confront the damage.

Heavy machinery was called in during the week to try to break the ice jam that had caused the nearby St. Charles River to overflow.

Michael Pagé was throwing out pieces of drywall and debris from his basement. He says the water was almost two metres high.
Michael Pagé got help from friends to empty out his basement, where the water rose almost two metres. He says he doesn't have insurance to cover the damage. (Pascale Lacombe/Radio-Canada)

"It pretty much all has to be redone," he said. "We'll have to take down the walls to try and get everything dry in the coming days."

Another resident, Normand Charbonneau, said he found his garbage bin inside his basement. 

"The water smashed through my two basement doors and my garbage can is now in the basement. It's just a mess," he said.
Normand Charbonneau has already spent hours breaking the ice left around his house, after what he calls 'a tsunami' of water rushed in last week. (Radio-Canada)

​City taking notes

Mayor Régis Labeaume said water levels dropped by over a metre overnight, allowing the removal of the security perimeter. He added that the level of the St. Charles River has also gone back to normal.

"Specialists have said they've never seen anything like this in an urban area," Labeaume said, promising the city would look into the reasons the ice jam formed so quickly and went unnoticed. 

"We couldn't know that the flow of the water upstream was so high and that it was going to split through that mini-iceberg," Labeaume said.
This resident couldn't get his garage doors open because of the ice. (Pascale Lacombe/Radio-Canada)

The Père-Lelièvre boulevard remains closed to traffic, because a large chunk of ice accumulated underneath. Workers have installed heaters to break up the jam.

Once the bridge passes inspection it will re-open Labeaume said. 

Civil security on the ground

Residents who are busy cleaning up the mess left behind will be met by civil security officials over the next few days. Labeaume said emergency financial compensation has already been provided by the province.
A worker tries to free a car from a mountain of ice left behind after the waters of the St-Charles River receded on Saturday. (Radio-Canada)

Social workers with the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale are also on-site to offer psychological support. 

Some people are still not able to sleep at home because of the extent of the damage.

With files from Radio-Canada's Pascale Lacombe