On Good Friday, it was the kind of wet April afternoon best spent indoors. Instead, Pierrefonds residents, including Viktor Dorokhine, were outside doing what they could to keep their homes safe from a possible flood.
“I’m making a little wall to protect my goods,” Dorokhine told Global News as he stacked sandbags in front of his home on Rue des Rivieres. “We don’t want any more damage. We don’t want any more cleaning.”
A few streets over, Linda Descormiers and her family were doing the same.
“We’re trying to avoid being flooded like we did in 2017,” she said.
In May 2017, their neighbourhood was hit hard by flooding. Two years later, some have only just recovered.
“We just finished renovations,” said Descormiers.
“I had up to $50,000 in damage,” said Dorokhine.
The 2017 floods took residents completely by surprise.
“Two years ago, we didn’t even have time to say hello. The water was coming in like crazy,” recalled Descormiers.
This time, things seem different.
With rain and thaw in the forecast, Pierrefonds-Roxboro has been warning residents, building ‘Muscle Walls,’ creating huge flood barriers, taking measures to keep sewers from overflowing and building walls of sandbags in problem spots.
“We will, at some point, be flooded in the different areas,” said Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis. “We’re optimistic that with the actions we’ve taken at least this will be minimized.”
Pierrefonds is delivering a pallet of sandbags to each house in high-risk areas.
“It’s pretty good. I was happy, I spoke to the mayor earlier. We’re getting ready,” said Dorokhine.
Descormiers’s house was not considered high risk, so she bought her own sandbags.
“We don’t have time to wait, we’re doing it just in case,” she explained.
Pierrefonds is also bringing in bulk sand that they plan to distribute with empty bags where it’s needed. Beis said the borough does not have the resources to help people stack bags at their homes.
“They’re 30 kilos each, and I’m 71 years old,” said Pierrefonds resident Maggie Kares. “My husband has back problems. How can I carry this? Where is the army?”
Beis hopes residents band together to help one another.
“People need make sure their house, their material is safe, but above all they need to be safe as citizens and make sure they’re ready to evacuate if we take that decision,” Beis said.