‘The 66 pounds are a killer’: Volunteers needed to help Île-Bizard residents clear sandbags

Volunteers needed for flood cleanup in Île-Bizard
WATCH ABOVE: The floodwaters have receded but a sodden mess remains and as Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, while cleanup efforts are fully underway in some West Island communities, things haven’t gone as planned in Île-Bizard.

The flood waters have finally receded in Île-Bizard, but now the difficult task of cleaning up begins.

The city put out a call for volunteers earlier this week to help homeowners clear sandbags from their properties. The sandbags must be placed by the side of the road for the city to collect.

But on Saturday morning, volunteers were few and far between.

“Haven’t seen any,” said Krista Urban, who lives on Barabé Street, “I was kinda hoping to wake up today and seeing people here.”

READ MORE: Île-Bizard-Sainte-Geneviève residents search for ways to prevent future floods

Urban has thousands of sandbags that need to be moved, but she says lifting the bags isn’t easy.

“The 66 pounds are a killer and most of it is 66 pounds,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

For others, Like Rick Scheffer, it’s almost impossible.

He and his partner are in their 70s and they have 2,000 sandbags around their home.

“There’s not a lot we can do, frankly.  We can’t move all these ourselves,” he said.

READ MORE: Île-Bizard flood victims propose class-action lawsuit against borough

Scheffer thinks part of the reason there are so few volunteers in the area is that there is no imminent threat.

“When there’s a sense of urgency and a sense of flood imminence, it does rally people,” he said.

Others, like borough councillor Robert Samoszewski, believe that flood fatigue has set in.

“People are tired, they’re exhausted,” he said.

Samoszewski was busy handing out flyers hoping for a better turnout on Sunday and next week.

“All the arms, all the help that we can get to help these people will be very much appreciated,” he said.

WATCH: Île-Bizard flood relief volunteers at odds with borough officials

Île-Bizard flood volunteers at odds with borough officials
Île-Bizard flood volunteers at odds with borough officials

As for Urban, she got a helping hand Saturday afternoon.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s a family affair,” she said.

Despite family coming to the rescue, there’s still a lot of work to do.

While it took four days to build the dike protecting Urban’s home, she’s hoping it won’t take as long to dismantle.

Volunteers wanting to participate in the cleanup efforts can head to Salle Madeleine-Lahaye at 500 montée de l’Église on Sunday, June 2 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remember to bring boots and work gloves.

For more information on how you can help, visit the borough website.

— With files from Global’s Annabelle Olivier