‘We’ve been in total darkness’: Terrasse-Vaudreuil flood victims meet with government officials
The spring floods struck hard in Terrasse-Vaudreuil, and resident Niki Di Stefano still hasn’t been able to return to the home she’s lived in for 30 years.
“We’ve been in total darkness,” she told Global News.
She says damage to her home is worth well over $150,000. Tired of waiting for government money, her family has already started some repairs at their own expense.
“We’re in the process of remortgaging the home. We can’t wait anymore,” she said. “I’m looking to have my life back. To have my home back.”
After months of bouncing around between hotels, a friend’s basement and now an apartment, she hoped to get some answers at the government’s so-called “personalized meetings” in Terrasse-Vaudreuil.
At the local community centre, flood victims were able to speak with the Public Security Ministry, the Red Cross, the Regie du Batiment and more. Similar meetings have been held in flood-struck communities all over Quebec. The goal is to accelerate flood relief.
“They’re going through their dossiers to see what they can do to speed them up,” said Terrasse-Vaudreuil Town Manager Ron Kelley.
Richard Watt came along with two other men to ask for government help to rebuild a destroyed retaining wall at their condo complex, saying the damage done by flooding was between $600,000 and $1 million. The condo sits on a small island between Ile Perrot and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, and the homeowners believe more flooding could be catastrophic if the wall isn’t repaired.
“We’re pretty convinced we’re going to lose our entire island, we’ll lose our buildings,” Watt said.
They left with more questions than answers.
After months of chasing the government, Lyne Barrette was told the government would send her a few thousand dollars to repair her home. She remains skeptical.
“It’s a relief, but my hopes are not too high. We’ll see,” she said.
The personalized meeting in Terrasse-Vaudreuil was the last one scheduled by the province. They held 21 days of meetings in 12 different areas, and met with around 3000 people.
Quebec says they’ve had 6,000 requests for financial help related to the floods, and that they’ve paid out over $58 million to citizens.
“We just hope things will come along faster, so they can get what they need to get done at their homes. Winter is coming,” said Kelley.
For her part, Di Stefano left with more questions. Officials asked for more documents and more assessments. She still doesn’t know when she will be able to return to her home.
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