Quebec government gives green light to rebuild dike in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac
The municipality of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac will be getting a new and improved dike.
Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charrette made the announcement Friday afternoon in company of Mayor Sonia Paulus.
It’s welcome news in the small community northwest of Montreal that has been reeling since a dike breach on April 27, flooded one-third of the area.
WATCH: Flood victims in limbo as Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac dike future uncertain
Within minutes, water from the Lake of Two Mountains flooded streets and homes, forcing around 6,000 residents to flee.
While the damaged 42-year-old dike was temporarily fixed last Sunday, residents who were allowed back home to begin the long process of cleaning up found themselves facing an uncertain future.
In conversation with Global News earlier this week, some residents said they were hesitant to rebuild without the assurance of a permanent solution surrounding the dike.
Charrette acknowledged it was a difficult time for the community.
“Today still, hundreds of people are living precariously and are feeling anxious about the future,” he said. “But we promised to quickly address the issue because we understand that we are still in flood season and we understand that spring 2020 will quickly be upon us.”
“It is with great pleasure that we confirm that we will be allowing the reconstruction of the dike.”
Charrette said the process will be two-pronged. The first step will be to shore up the current dike to allow for time to put plans in place for the reconstruction.
The government promised to support Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac as it moves forward with the project.
Charrette said it was too early to give specifics about the new dike, but said it would be built according to today’s standards.
He also explained how the Quebec government is working with various partners to redraw flood maps.
“It will allow us to make better decisions in the coming weeks,” Charrette said.
Paulus, for her part, rejoiced at the government’s announcement saying she was thrilled residents would be able to stay in their homes.
She also took a moment to thank flood relief workers, including first responders and volunteers, and praised residents for coming together in hard times.
“This has been one of the hardest trials in the history of our beautiful municipality, but we are on the right track because we form a community — we help each other and we are resilient.”
There may be troubles ahead for the municipality, however, as residents have begun legal proceedings against the city, and the provincial government.
Residents are accusing the city of negligence in connection with the dike failure.
Gérard Samet, a lawyer representing the group, confirmed Friday evening that the class-action suit had been filed within the city’s two-week deadline required for claims and formal notices.
— With files from Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines
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