There is usually a few feet between the water and the top of the locks in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue but now there’s just an inch.
“I haven’t seen that…since the 60s,” said resident and former locks operator Raymond Jolin. “Usually, it’s like two feet lower than the top.”
On Tuesday morning, residents kept showing up at the locks to make their own assessment of the rising waters in the West Island city.
“I suspect global warming is going to be crazier and crazier all the time,” said resident Gary Townsend. “They were saying 2017 was one in a hundred and now it’s just two years later.”
In spite of extensive preparations, some waterfront homes in the area have been flooded. One building owner who didn’t want to be identified told Global News the bottom unit of his building had been evacuated.
“All the electrical systems are downstairs and the lower one was too close to the water, so that’s why they had to leave,” said Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue city councillor Francis Juneau, who was aware of the case.
Residents are commending the city for being much better prepared than they were two years ago.
“The town workers, I have to give them full credit,” said longtime resident Stephen Larder. “They’ve been on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working like crazy. They put up all the dikes that we have, the retaining walls. Even the community came out and helped a lot.”
“It’s better than 2017 for sure,” Juneau told Global News. “We changed our strategy a bit. We added some balloons in our water sewers so that way were able to keep the street dry, which helped lots of houses.”
Dikes and powerful pumps are managing to keep the Lac-Des-Deux-Montagnes out of the street.
At a row of townhouses backing on the water, some residents had four feet of water in their garages in 2017. This time they were ready.
“In 2017, we lost lots of houses because the wall you see here just fell overnight. Now, it’s more solid and volunteers have helped us build all those walls,” said Juneau.
Urgence Québec says the water is still rising in Sainte-Anne, but there is confidence that the lessons learned from 2017 will help shield the community from any major damage.