Ottawa

Rising to the challenge: Meet 5 residents helping out with flood relief

As water levels continue to rise and threaten hundreds of homes in and around Ottawa and Gatineau, many residents have risen to the challenge, pitching in to help friends and strangers alike. Here are just a few of them.

Here are some people out helping neighbours and strangers alike

Clarence-Rockland declared a state of emergency late Thursday afternoon. Already high water levels are expected to rise more as a deluge of spring rain continues. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

As water levels continue to rise and threaten hundreds of homes around Ottawa and Gatineau, many residents have risen to the challenge, pitching in to help friends and strangers alike.

Here are just a few of them.

Manon Lavergne, Clarence-Rockland

Manon Lavergne has helped co-ordinate sandbagging in Clarence-Rockland to prepare for rising water levels, which she says is still 'about five feet away from the doors.' (Ashley Burke/CBC News)

On Friday the rising Ottawa River lapped just two metres from Manon Lavergne's door in Rockland, Ont..

But Lavergne wasn't only concerned for her property. The volunteer coordinator is working to organize the sandbagging effort for her community, and said the experience has brought her closer to her neighbours.

"It's overwhelming, but I'm super happy to live in Rockland," she said.

But with more rain coming, the clock is ticking. On Thursday the mayor of Clarence-Rockland declared a state of emergency over fears the unrelenting precipitation will cause "havoc" in the community.

For Lavergne and her neighbours, the strain has taken its toll.

"We're getting exhausted," she said.

Bill Veck, Orléans

Orleans resident Bill Veck spent his day off work helping out with flood prevention in Clarence-Rockland. (CBC)

Bill Veck's own home isn't in danger, so he's helping fill sandbags and build dikes to protect other vulnerable properties in Orléans. Veck said he couldn't sit at home knowing his neighbours are struggling.

You see what's going on with these people in all the other areas and you've got to try and do something.- Bill Veck, Orléans

"I'm living up on a hill. I'm not going to be affected by the flood at all. But you see what's going on with these people in all the other areas and you've got to try and do something. It's total devastation. We had a fire a year and a half ago at the house, so I know what it's like to lose things. So if you can come out here and try to save some, that's great."

Julie Coté, Clarence-Rockland

Julie Coté's Rockland home is high and out of harm's way, but she opted to come fill sandbags anyway. (CBC)

Julie Coté's home is on high ground and out of danger, but that hasn't stopped her from getting her hands dirty filling sand bags.

"It's not fun seeing these people in the situation they're in ... It's really important to give back to the community. These people are in need. Those who can help, not everyone can, but to come down and lend a hand is really important." 

Dennis Tassé, Gatineau

Gatineau city councillor Dennis Tassé has been using his amphibious vehicle to shuttle people around Pointe-Gatineau and check in on the hardest-hit residents. (CBC)

Gatineau city councillor Dennis Tassé doesn't live in the Pointe-Gatineau neighbourhood, but he's been using his amphibious vehicle to reach affected people.

He even delivered pizza to people on Thursday.

Pierre Sigman, Gatineau

While not in immediate danger, Pierre Sigman's home is close to the flooding in Pointe- Gatineau. He says he wants to be there for people in his community. (CBC)

Having lived in the area since he was three, Pierre Sigman says he wants to be there for neighbours and feels sorry for people who are losing precious possessions.

Sigman's been patrolling the Pointe-Gatineau district by kayak and checking in on residents who might need help.

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