Flood meetings overflow with concerned residents
1,000 attend Gatineau meeting, 200 show up to gathering in Constance Bay
Hundreds of people filled a pair meetings about compensation for flood victims to overflowing in Gatineau and Constance Bay Wednesday night.
In Gatineau, nearly 1,000 people showed up to a meeting held by Quebec's Ministry of Public Safety, about double the number expected. An overflow meeting room had to be set up.
Denis Landry, a director with the ministry, said the location — an auditorium at École polyvalente Nicolas-Gatineau — was chosen by the City of Gatineau, and added that more sessions will be held.
Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said it was clear that organizers were overwhelmed by the participation Wednesday night, and invited anyone dissatisfied with the meeting or the help offered by the province to contact National Assembly member Marc Carrière, who represents the riding of Chapleau.
The Public Safety Ministry has opened temporary offices Thursday and Friday at the Gatineau Sports Centre on Boulevard de la Gappe, to assist people completing compensation forms.
Gatineau landlord Yann Jodoin said he was upset to learn that owners of income-producing buildings aren't covered by the financial assistance program for actual or imminent disasters if it's not their primary residence.
Jodoin doesn't think owners shouldn't be covered because they don't actually live there. If he isn't compensated for his income-producing property, he said the bank will come for his actual home, and then he'll have no roof over his head.
He and a group of other Gatineau landlords affected by the flood plan to call for a change in the rules, he said.
Constance Bay meeting overcapacity
In Constance Bay, the community centre room was overcapacity and at least 200 people attended.
It was standing room only for some, with others standing in a hallway and peering in from a kitchen window.
People asked about whether retaining walls were covered, how the city would deal with sandbag cleanup, disposal and the decontamination of the site, and more.
Flooding has affected 346 properties on the Ottawa side of the Ottawa River, according to the city.
Four new information centres have been set up for residents in Cumberland, Britannia, Woodlawn, and Fitzroy Harbour. The centres will be staffed by city and public health workers, as well as representatives from the Red Cross and Salvation Army, who will be on hand to answer questions and help people access resources.
The locations are:
- Community Hall at the R.J. Kennedy Arena, 1115 Dunning Rd.
- Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre East Parking Lot, 102 Greenview Ave.
- Constance and Buckham's Bay Community Centre, 262 Len Purcell Dr.
- Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre, 100 Clifford Campbell St.
On Thursday and Friday, the centres will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The city said it will provide a schedule for the weekend and the following week soon.
With files from Estelle Côté-Sroka, Matthew Kupfer