As West Island floodwaters slowly recede, people living on tiny Île Mercier are growing increasingly impatient. The island, adjacent to Île-Bizard, has been cut off for weeks.
Resident Sonia Brown has been living at the Holiday Inn Pointe-Claire.
“I’m tired, I’m not going to lie. I’m very tired. It’s hard to live in a hotel with a child and, you know, try to find her something to eat every day, get her to daycare,” Brown told Global News on Friday morning.
“I’m supposed to be back to work and I’m not even back to work yet because of all this. I’m losing money.”
Brown, her husband Dave and their infant daughter say they miss their home on Île Mercier, but the only bridge leading there has been closed for three and a half weeks.
The only way in and out is by boat, which they don’t want to do regularly with a baby in tow.
“I just miss my house. It’s fun living in a hotel for a day or two, then you get to the point where your tired of eating the same food, you can’t cook for yourself, you have a microwave,” Brown said.
Some residents, like Pier-Luc Cauchon, regularly go back and forth by boat every day.
He says most of the homes on Île Mercier have not been flooded, even though streets are under knee-deep water.
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Many residents on the island beefed up their anti-flood tech after 2017’s flooding — and then defied a 2019 evacuation order and stayed on the island to make sure their powerful pumps didn’t stop working.
“If you don’t check the pumps, that could be $100,000 in damage,” said Cauchon.
Garbage is also stacking up in a container in the middle of the island as there’s been no collection since mid-April.
Residents say they don’t understand how the city has not done something to make the bridge passable.
“They need to try to find some method to open the bridge or make secure way to pass over it,” said Cauchon.
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Île-Bizard Mayor Normand Marinacci said security officials will not allow residents to use the bridge.
“As far as the bridge is concerned, I don’t see how we could have done better,” he told Global News.
Cauchon feels that even though Île Mercier was hit hard by flooding in 2017, the city was caught off guard in 2019.
He commended the city for delivering sandbags and pumps to the island, but said it should have done more to help residents cut off by the flooding.
“2017 happened — you should have been more prepared. You can learn from your mistakes again and hopefully prepare something better than you did,” said Cauchon.
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“It’s easy to blame the city,” said Marinacci. “But the flood came as a surprise. I thought the city did the right thing. Residents told me at the beginning they were happy the city was giving them sandbags.”
With waters receding slowly, Cauchon hopes the bridge will be open within two or three weeks. Until engineers are able to inspect the structure, boating will remain the only way to and from the isolated island.
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