Montreal

Crews rush to stabilize ground in Saguenay, Que., to prevent further landslides

In three stages, 26,250 cubic metres of dirt ⁠— enough to fill about 10-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools ⁠— will be cleared for emergency work that should take five to six weeks, according to Quebec's Transport Ministry.

Some residents will be allowed to retrieve personal belongings from their homes

The emergency work to stabilize a hillside in danger of sliding is expected to take five to six weeks, after a June 13 landslide destroyed one house and forced the evacuation of nearly 80 others. (Radio-Canada)

An average of 100 trucks are rumbling through the Saguenay, Que., suburb of La Baie  each day, as crews scramble to stabilize the shifting ground underneath dozens of homes.

A landslide on June 13 destroyed a home in the community about 240 kilometres north of Quebec City, displacing nearly 200 people from some 80 residences. 

In three stages, 26,250 cubic metres of dirt ⁠— enough to fill about 10-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools ⁠— will be cleared for this emergency work that should take five to six weeks, according to the province's Ministry of Transport.

There are still 165 people unable to return home, and five houses on Parc Avenue will soon be demolished, ministry officials said Tuesday at a meeting to update affected residents.

The fate of two other houses located on 8th Avenue remains uncertain. Inspectors are to check the condition of their structure after the emergency work is completed.

In all, 192 people living in 79 houses in the La Baie borough of Saguenay, about 240 kilometres north of Quebec City, have been forced from their homes due to the risk of more landslides. (Radio-Canada)

The residents of these homes will be allowed to go in briefly to collect personal belongings while rescue personnel stand at the ready, but people aren't expected to cart out home appliances or other large furnishings, as the operation is aimed only at gathering keepsakes and other important items.

Last month, the government increased the amount of financial compensation available to those who lost or stand to lose their houses.

The maximum amount was set at $385,000 to cover the cost of the dwelling, with additional funding to help pay for new furniture and appliances.

Saguenay Mayor Julie Dufour said Tuesday that money will help cover costs, but residents are still faced with the challenge of finding a new place to live.

The city doesn't have real estate agents on staff but is doing what it can to help residents find a suitable home or property on which to build one, she said.

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