93-year-old 'tough cookie' grandma insists she'll return to flooded Montreal home

The 93-year-old grandmother forced to abandon her West Island home because of flooding insists she'll return, her family says. They've started an online fundraiser to help fix up the house.

Grandson filled 600 sandbags to try to save Pierrefonds home, but couldn't hold back water

Raymond Stelmashuk says they'll do what they can do save his grandmother's home, which backs onto the shore of L'Anse à l'Orme Bay. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

The 93-year-old grandmother forced to abandon her West Island home because of flooding is insisting she'll return, her family says.

"She's a tough cookie. [She's] still standing firm that she can go back no matter what," grandson Raymond Stelmashuk said.

On Sunday, CBC reported that Stelmashuk made and moved 600 sandbags to try to save his grandmother's home on the western edge of Pierrefonds.

But despite his sleepless nights, he couldn't hold back the rising water.

Since then, there's been a wave of support from complete strangers; people who read his story said they'd be happy to pitch in if he started a fundraiser.

"You don't know these people, but just ... huge outpouring of support and kind words," he said.

Raymond Stelmashuk says the outpouring of support has been amazing. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

Stelmashuk listened to their suggestions, and set up a Go Fund Me campaign

He says even if people don't donate, their messages of support on the online fundraising page encourage him and his family.

It's still too early for them to know how extensive the damage is — they have to wait for the water to recede from the crawlspace before they can evaluate. 

But he says they know the house shifted from its foundation.

"For it to be stable, it has to be lifted and concrete poured like a slab and dropped back down," he says.

He says in an ideal world, he'd love it if they could raise enough money between donations and government compensation to fix the foundation.

The family plans to apply for government compensation as well, but they're not sure how much they'll be eligible for.

Even if they can't save the house, Stelmashuk says they were at least able to save all of his grandmother's possessions.

"The house itself, we couldn't pack up that and put it in a truck ... if only we could."

This is what Gouin Boulevard West in Montreal's Pierrefonds neighbourhood looked like on Wednesday, after flood waters started to recede. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)