Flooded Ottawa residents call on city to step up aid
'I have probably no equity left on my home because of this disaster,' resident tells meeting
Residents along the flooded Ottawa River shoreline went to city-run public meetings Tuesday asking many of the same questions: how can we stop this from happening again and why didn't help come sooner?
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At an at-times raucous meeting at the R.J. Kennedy Arena in the east-end Ottawa community of Cumberland, Leo Lane homeowner Michel Potvin said residents have been trying to come up with solutions to keep the waters back in previous years, but haven't received much support.
"Can we be assured that you people will look into the situation, especially our street, Leo Lane?" he asked Coun. Stephen Blais.
"That whole street could have been protected."
Leo Lane, along with Boise Lane in Cumberland, is closed due to the flooding, and while residents may be happy to hear that water levels are dropping, they are concerned about what happens next.
"What if we rebuild our homes and this happens again next year?" asked Genevieve Landry.
"If I decide to jack up my home it's not going to be included in the resource fund, correct? So that means I need to borrow money from the bank," she said.
"But my property value just went down mega-bucks. I have probably no equity left on my home because of this disaster. Nobody is going to want to buy my house or any of our homes that are on the river."
"Something needs to happen," she said.
Blais said once things got back to "close to normal" the city would look at what could be done for the area.
"We're still going to be looking for those answers," he said. "There certainly will be a post-mortem... [but] we want to get you back to normal first."
'There just wasn't enough help'
At the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre, Dunrobin resident Ruth Charron said volunteers and city crews worked hard to prevent flooding in the west-end community, but said help from the city was needed earlier.
"The city could have saved so many more homes had they been just reactive two days earlier," she said.
"By Saturday morning, the water was rising, it rose like a foot that day, and people lost their homes that day because...there just wasn't enough help."
She came to the meeting to learn more about what the city was prepared to do to help, and said the real battle will be the clean-up afterwards.
"We have all summer long that we're going to be dealing with basements, houses, yards...." she said.
The city also held an information session at the Nepean Sportsplex but many residents there had less serious problems and were more concerned about how they could repair damaged shorelines.
The City of Ottawa will host a final flood information meeting Wednesday evening in Constance Bay.
It starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Constance and Buckham's Bay Community Centre on Len Purcell Drive.
With files from Stu Mills and Amanda Pfeffer