Quebec floods: Future uncertain for some Ile Bizard trailer park residents
What used to be Alina Smiechowska’s living room is nothing more than the bare wood frame of her mobile home.
She’d been living in the Ile Bizard trailer park near Montee Wilson with her daughter for 13 years, when the flood hit.
Now they’re on their third hotel provided by the Red Cross.
“In the beginning it was nice, you have a place to live. But it’s not a home,” Smiechowska told Global News. “Before I never cried. Now, I cry every day.”
So far, she’s received $1,000 from the Quebec government, but thinks restoring her home could cost up to $40,000. She had no insurance, and is hoping the government gives her more money.
“I’ve called them a few times, we have a talk, they make promises, nothing comes,” she said.
Two doors down from Smiechowska, her neighbour Jeff Greenwood’s home had eight inches of water throughout the entire place.
His home is ruined, but he’s been quite satisfied with the aid he’s received from the government.
“We got very quickly what they call an advance of $20,000,” Jeff Greenwood told Global News.
He took video of the damage to his house right off the bat, and showed it to government inspectors immediately.
He thinks that might be part of the reason Smiechowska didn’t get the same help.
“Alina couldn’t make it obvious that the damage was at that level, whereas I could show video,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jim Butt, who lives between them, hasn’t lost his home. He did lose some of his prized possessions, including a motorcycle.
“I lost a lot of personal belongings I’ve been collecting for the past 45 years — comic book collections I’ve had since I was a child,” he said.
He thinks the city should’ve done more.
“I’d like this city to have a little bit more respect for the taxpayers. I pay taxes. I may not pay as much as the mansions on Bord-de-lac who are getting all the attention,” said Butt.
Global News reached out to the mayor of Ile Bizard for comment but have yet to hear back.
Butt’s neighbour, Greenwood, disagrees.
“I appreciate what they did. To me, the only reason they came later was because of all they had to put into Ile Mercier,” Greenwood said. Ile Mercier was one of the areas worst-hit by the floods.
Unlike his two neighbours, Greenwood is moving away from the trailer park. His wife refuses to stay.
“l would live here through anything, but of course, I stay with my wife you know,” he said. He thinks his home will be demolished.
Smiechowska hopes to one day live in her home again. In spite of her sadness, she said the ordeal has made her closer with her daughter. She’s trying to stay positive.
“Life goes on,” she said.
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