As floodwaters continue to rise around his home, Robert Bergeron has no intention of leaving for higher ground.
The 77-year-old homeowner is staying put in flood-stricken Rigaud, located about 80 kilometres west of Montreal, even as the Outaouais River starts to spill onto his street and damage several properties.
READ MORE: More than 3,100 homes flooded across Quebec
Unlike those around him, Bergeron’s home remains bone dry due to a $43,000 barrier that has turned his property into a man-made island. The bright yellow wall, known as a watergate barrier, encircles his entire house and blocks out the rising river.
“There is no water coming around the house,” he said.
Severe spring flooding has hit several areas in Quebec, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. In Rigaud, emergency measures were launched and about 200 homes have been evacuated as of Tuesday morning due to rising floodwaters.
While emergency evacuation orders are not underway, Rigaud fire Chief Daniel Boyer warns those who choose to stay should be careful.
“Your morale will go down,” he said. “Your sleep will go down. We’re asking people to leave and come back in a few days.”
After the historic flooding in 2017, Bergeron says he did his research and found a solution for future flooding. He said the giant yellow portable wall is worth the hefty price tag it saves his home.
If the barrier holds up over the coming days, he plans to include it with the eventual sale of his property.
“It’s a fantastic investment,” he said.
With more rain in the forecast, local authorities advise shoreline residents to be vigilant as ice and snow from the winter continues to melt. Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. said it could take a long time for the area to return to normal.
WATCH: Rigaud deals with massive spring flooding
— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines and The Canadian Press
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