It’s been one year since Roxboro resident Alain Furlano was arrested for trying to build a temporary dyke on a piece of land near his childhood home to stop the water from flooding his street.
Officers warned him he wasn’t allowed to do that because it wasn’t his property. But he tried anyway.
He was held in police custody for 55 hours and eventually released.
Today, Furlano says if he had to do what he did last year all over again, he would.
“It was the right thing to do,” he said. “It was simple, I had no criminal intention, it was to help save my house, save my neighbours.”
Furlano, like many residents on 5th Avenue North, lost a lot.
One year later, the street is filled with plots of land, empty homes and construction.
“I’ve been here since 1970, and when I see those homes, almost abandoned homes, people not back in their homes, this is very bad. It’s sad,” he said.
Residents say that what’s worse is that the permanent dyke they were fighting for last year still has not been built.
The borough put down sandbags in the fall, but people say that isn’t enough. They insist a permanent dyke needs to be installed along the train tracks, since that’s where the flooding started last year.
But Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough mayor Jim Beis said he’s confident the sandbag set up will protect the area from any future floods. He claims building a dyke along the tracks is more complicated.
“If it’s a new dyke that’s to be created, it definitely has to be validated by the Minister of Environment because we are working on the shoreline,” Beis said.
“As a temporary solution, we have the sandbags in place,” he said. “But if we have a more permanent solution in the future, well then, that all has to go through the proper authorities.”