Ottawa

Gatineau looking for volunteers to clean up sandbags on flooded streets

With water levels receding, the City of Gatineau is working to try and figure out what to do with all of the sand bags that were used to hold back the rivers and is expected to call for volunteers for help.

More than 500 homes in Gatineau have been affected by the flooding

Sand bags ordered for the Pointe-Gatineau area go unused as water levels recede in the region. But they will remain at least until the weekend, when there is a chance of further rain showers. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

With water levels receding, the City of Gatineau is working to try and figure out what to do with all of the sandbags that were used to hold back the rivers and is expected to call for volunteers for help. 

Water levels on the Ottawa River crested at the Hull Marina monitoring point at 45.18 metres above sea level — or about three metres above seasonal norms — but by Wednesday at 8 a.m. the water level had dropped some 22 centimetres.

With only insignificant rain forecast in the near future, the city is now turning its attention to the cleanup.

The city said it is planning a major volunteer operation and will be calling on people aged 16 and older to pick up sandbags on the properties of flood victims.

A military vehicle drives down the flooded Jacques Cartier Street in the Pointe-Gatineau neighbourhood of Gatineau, Que., on May 10, 2017. Water levels in the area have dropped some 22 cm since peaking Monday. (Stu Mills/CBC)

The operation would not begin until the water had fully receded from the streets, the city said.

The city is asking residents looking to dispose of sandbags to place them on the edge of their property, adjacent to, but not on, the street or sidewalk.

The city said it plans to set aside at least 100,000 empty bags for future flooding, but said keeping full bags is not an option, as they take up too much space and can degrade over time.

The city said it plans to reuse the sand for various purposes, including as backfill for the construction of new streets.

The city also said flood victims along the Gatineau and Ottawa Rivers won't have to pay the next installment of their property taxes — normally due June 30 — until 2018.

The first half of those taxes would be added to the February 2018 bill, while the second half would be added in June 2018.

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