Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac residents upset over new dike construction, say mayor has mismanaged it

House demolitions begin in QC town ravaged by spring flooding
Dozens of homes are being demolished in Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Quebec, in a neighbourhood hit hard by flooding this past spring.

Residents who own waterfront properties in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac are used to waking up with a view of the Deux Montagnes lake — but that is about to change.

Four months after a dike breach flooded the town and forced 6,000 people out of their homes, work to rebuild the dike has started.

The new dike will be 26.5 metres tall, which is approximately 1.5 metres higher than the current dike.

It will also be reinforced with steel sheet piling to prevent water infiltration.

READ MORE: Updated Quebec floodplain map includes large portion of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac

For many residents who live on the shore, this means their view and access to the lake will be blocked.

“We are in shock. We don’t understand. We have a heavy heart,” said Stephanie Gouin at a town meeting on Wednesday night.

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“We’re going to lose the view,” said David Marzoli. “We worked hard to get those properties and see the view of the lake.”

On Wednesday, many residents criticized Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac’s mayor Sonia Paulus for what they say is her lack of transparency and mismanagement of the situation.

They said they were never consulted about the dike and feel they are not being taken into consideration.

Paulus said public consultations had not been held because of the urgency of the matter.

During a tense question period, several residents asked Paulus to consider lowering the dike’s height to 25.8 metres, but the mayor dismissed the demands, saying it was the government’s decision and a matter of security.

READ MORE: After heavy spring floods, demolition work begins in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac

Work for the new dike started on Monday. Crews with heavy machinery cut down century-old trees to make way for it.

Several residents said they had not been informed of the beginning of construction and were devastated by the damage it caused to their properties.

Wednesday night, there was a general consensus that the dike must be fixed to avoid another disaster, but residents said they should not have to pay with their view.

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“Why put a six-foot-tall wall when I’ve never had a drop of water on my property from normal flooding?” asked Gouin.

The city says the work should be over sometime in the fall. In the meantime, residents say they will continue to demand answers.

“I hope that they realize that as we work together, we could make something better than them making their own decisions,” said Marzoli.