Montreal

Flooded Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac residents to launch class action against government

About 500 residents of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac met on Friday to decide to apply for the class action.

Homes in off-island suburb flooded, forcing thousands to flee

Residents clean up after the flood waters recede in certain sectors in Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Que. northwest of Montreal on Thursday, May 2, 2019. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

A group of flooded residents in a municipality northwest of Montreal plan on launching a class-action lawsuit against the Quebec government.

About 500 residents of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac met on Friday to decide to apply for the class action, confirmed Gérard Samet, a lawyer representing the group.

Samet said he would apply for a class action lawsuit within the next week.

A natural dike protecting the off-island suburb was breached by water flowing from the Lake of Two Mountains last week, flooding about 2,000 homes and forcing about 6,000 to evacuate.

The dike was inspected after severe flooding hit the province in 2017, and the government was planning on making repairs this fall.

Michelle and John Ellison are residents of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac. They are hoping a lawsuit will get them the compensation they need to start over. (CBC)

Residents Michelle and John Ellison hope the class action lawsuit might get them the money they need to move — if they're not allowed to return.

"If they're going to pay for the clean-up and we can stay there, I'll be very happy. This is where I want to stay the rest of my life," said Michelle Ellison.

Quebec Premier François Legault said on Thursday that the government has not decided whether the breached dike will be repaired.

The dike, made from gravel and earth, was constructed in 1980, allowing the community formerly comprised of summer cottages to more than double in size.

A temporary dike, made of stone, is being constructed to keep the water at bay.

Some of those who have been allowed to return have found their homes severely damaged by the flooding.

With files from Jaela Bernstien

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