'We have no choice': Flooded Gatineau residents mull buyouts

Some say they're tired of living through flood after flood and want to know more about how they can be compensated if they leave their homes.

One-on-one meetings with claims officers begin Wednesday

Many homes on boulevard Hurtubise in Gatineau flooded in 2017 and again in 2019. Now some residents want a buyout from the province to leave. (Ashley Burke/CBC News)

Some Gatineau residents say they're tired of living through flood after flood and want to know more about how they can be compensated if they leave their homes.

Around 300 people turned out to a meeting with provincial officials Tuesday night to get a sense of how a new provincial program will compensate them to either make repairs to their homes or walk away from them.

"I lived through it … two years ago. I'm living it through it now. I don't want to go through this again," said Louise David, who put $47,000 worth of work into her home on rue René in Pointe-Gatineau after the 2017 floods.

Others in her neighbourhood weren't allowed to rebuild, with the city holding public consultations on what it should do with that land this winter.

After two floods in three years, David said she doesn't believe she'll be able to sell her home again and plans to walk away.

"Give me the money and I'll run to the bank. I'll buy a condo, very high up," she said.

"[$250,000] in my pocket is better than zero in my pocket and having to live through this again."

Louise David says she's ready to walk away from her home and is hoping for a buyout from the province so she can move to higher ground. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Under a new provincial program, the Quebec government is offering up to $100,000 to homeowners for flood damage compensation or a $200,000 buyout for them to move outside flood areas.

    The province can also compensate residents an extra $50,000 for the land around their homes, said Mathieu Lévesque, the MNA for Chapleau.

    Anyone who chooses money to repair their home won't be eligible for future renovation compensation, he said, though they could be eligible for the buyout if another flood occurs.

    Appointments with claims officer begin Wednesday in temporary offices at the Campeau Arena on rue des Sables.

    MNA Mathieu Lévesque says the repair and buyout are one-time offers, though if you take the repair money it doesn't stop you from taking a buyout in another flood. (Raphael Tremblay/Radio-Canada)

    Louise Duplessis is also looking for a buyout for her home on boulevard Hurtubise.

    She said she had planned to walk away from her property after the 2017 floods but a deal with the government for a buyout never materialized.

    She's now been told she'll have to restart her claim.

    "We have to start at zero once again and we do not have the capacity or the energy to redo all this," she said. 

    Will I be penalized because I was looking forward and trying to prevent more damages? I don't know yet.- Louise Goneau, spent $100,000 to help floodproof her home on Boulevard Hurtubise after the 2017 floods

    Her home had 11 cracks in the foundation two years ago and she expects the damage this time around to be significantly worse.

    She's lived in Gatineau since 1991 but doesn't know where she'll go if she gets a buyout, but knows she can't stay where she lives now.

    Her home needs to be lifted and the foundation repaired for $260,000, she said, far more than the $100,000 she might be eligible for.

    "We have no choice. At my age I cannot start with a debt of $100,000 or $60,000 and that's how much damage I have."

    Louise and Benoit Duplessis left their home on boulevard Hurtubise last month. They say they were offered a buyout after the 2017 floods, which was never finalized, and are now being told they will have to repeat the process to request a new buyout. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

    Others want to know if the preventative measures they put in place since 2017 will be covered under the province's new plan.

    "The water was literally hitting our house all around and I had no water damage inside," said Louise Goneau, who also lives on boulevard Hurtubise.

    She's put $100,000 into floodproofing her home with pumps and special cement, but wonders if her foresight will be recognized and reimbursed since she's costing the province less money this time around.

    "Will I be penalized because I was looking forward and trying to prevent more damages? I don't know yet."

    Since her home was saved this flood, she only plans to make a claim for some preventative measures such as extra pumps and building a dike.


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