Ferry from Cumberland to Masson-Angers reopens as flood retreats in east Ottawa

The ferry connecting eastern Ottawa to west Quebec reopened Saturday as Cumberland residents tried to return to normal following the recent flooding.

Service had shut down for 10 days due to high water on the Ottawa River

The Cumberland-Masson ferry reopened on May 13, 2017, after a 10-day closure caused by flooding on the Ottawa River. This dock, however, was too far underwater to operate on Saturday. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Transportation is slowly returning to normal after serious disruptions caused by flooding in the National Capital Region.

The Bourbonnais ferry connecting Cumberland in east Ottawa to Masson-Angers, Que., restarted operations Saturday morning after being closed for 10 days.

Its operations, however, are still limited due to high water levels on the Ottawa River.

Bourbonnais deputy director Sylvain L'Amoureux said the ferry is only carrying light vehicles like passenger cars, and heavy vehicles will be permitted once the water level has decreased.

Two of the ferries ran midday Saturday as opposed to three, and one dock is still under water on the Masson-Angers side. Lamoureux said the Bourbonnais office and workshop were both flooded, as well as nine nearby houses.

Steve Romain uses the ferry to travel to his cottage in Mont Tremblant. He said detours caused by flooding added more than an hour to his drive and he was relieved the ferry had returned to service.

"People were out as, I guess you'd call them 'flood tourists.' You wouldn't believe the traffic. It was ridiculous," Romain said, as the boat travelled to Ontario.

"It's great that things are starting to open up, and it's good that these people are getting back to normal too. Business is back."

Highway 50 in Gatineau also reopened all lanes Saturday morning, including Des Draveurs Bridge, eliminating another detour created by flooding.

'Try to find that normal'

Just days ago, Tanya Masek's home on Morin Road in Cumberland was surrounded by water that had creeped up her driveway and into her backyard.

The sandbags were still piled at the foot of her property Saturday as Masek was out mowing her lawn. She said the chore helped her find some normalcy amid the chaos.

Tanya Masek mows her lawn near sandbags that were keeping water from creeping up her driveway only days ago in the east Ottawa community of Cumberland. (CBC)

"Every time I look out my living room window, I'm looking at sandbags and just the disaster that it was," she said.

"I know some of my neighbours are in a really bad spot. I need to take my self away, and that's how I do it. I garden, I mow, just try to find that normal."

The emergency command centre at the corner of Morin and Phillip roads in Cumberland is expected to come down this weekend. Power has been restored to some of the local houses affected by the flood, but Boisé Lane remains a canal.

Steve Couture said he's spent sleepless nights monitoring the generator that powered the pumps to keep water out of his parents' home at Boisé and Morin.

"It'll be a good sleep tonight, knowing that the power's on and the generator can't break down in the middle of the night," Couture said.

Steve Couture said the flood showed him how his community could pull together in a time of crisis. Neighbours created a makeshift bridge out of a floating dock to cross Boisé Lane, which is still flooded. (CBC)

There's a bridge improvised out of a floating dock crossing the street in front of his home. Couture said it's an example of the good ideas the community came up with to help during the stressful time.

"Once the water's down low enough that the vehicles can go back to their driveways, then we're going to remove the dock," he said. "Maybe [we'll] put the dock back on the water where it should be, rather than across the street."

Couture said the flood has served as a warning for people to prepare for a similar event in the future. He said no one he's spoken to is planning to move away.