Gatineau flood victims still waiting on government compensation

More than a year since devastating floods hit the Outaouais, some victims have still not been compensated by the Quebec government for repair work to their homes.

Mario Gauthier says he spent around $100,000 on repair work

Mario Gauthier had to raise his foundations after his Outaouais home was damaged in the spring 2017 floods. He still hasn't been paid, however, for raising the ceiling to match. (Radio-Canada)

More than a year since devastating floods hit the Outaouais, some victims have still not been compensated by the Quebec government for repair work to their homes.

The provincial government promised to support victims of the spring 2017 flooding through a compensation fund intended to help people rebuild their homes.

Mario Gauthier is one of the several Gatineau residents whose homes were heavily damaged. After the flooding, he received authorization from the Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec to pour a higher foundation for his home.

While the province paid that portion of the bill, Gauthier said he still hasn't received about $100,000 for additional renovations — including extending the height of his home's ceilings to match the now-raised foundation. 

Gauthier said he's still hoping the government will compensate him for the additional work. (Radio-Canada )

The public safety department told Radio-Canada in a French-language that when disaster victims carry out work at their homes, some "take the opportunity to make some improvements."

But Gauthier said it wasn't his choice to build higher foundations, which left his ceiling too low.

"I had no choice. The plans are there. They asked for them in the plan," Gauthier said in a French-language interview with Radio-Canada. 

"I feel like a thief. I feel like a beggar."

'People are impatient' 

Gauthier's case is not unique in the region. Jean Lessard, councillor for Gatineau's Rivière-Blanche district, said he knows of at least four other homeowners still waiting for compensation.

"It's a long time, because after a year and a half, soon two, there are [still] unresolved cases," he said. "It's taking a while. People are impatient and tired."

Mathieu Lévesque, the newly-elected Coalition Avenir Québec MNA for Chapleau, said cases like Gauthier's could be resolved by the end of the year.

"We will respect our commitments and then take our responsibilities in this matter … We can only hope that at Christmas, it will be done," he told Radio-Canada. 

With files from Radio-Canada