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Permanent solutions for flood-prone Rigaud street delayed due to COVID-19

Click to play video 'Rigaud fortifying flood measures' Rigaud fortifying flood measures
The waterfront sectors of Rigaud are fortifying their measures against spring flooding. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, there are some delays – Apr 17, 2020

The search to find a permanent solution to fix a major flood-prone artery in the town of Rigaud has been put on hold.

In the last four years, Rigaud’s Chemin du Bas de la Rivière has been overtaken by floodwaters three times.

The recurring issue is a serious safety concern, leaving some 200 residents in the area stranded when waters rise.

Now, a city-funded study into finding a permanent solution to the problem has been delayed because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

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The city launched a  $50,000 study in hopes to evaluate the best route to mend the seasonal issue, according to Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr.

The city is looking into two options, either diverting the shoreline road inland, away from the water or by raising the street several feet.

Both are options Gruenwald Jr. says would cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For long-time residents like Wayne Murray, it will take too long to fix the serious problem.

In his 20 years living in the flood-prone area, he has seen the Outaouais river take over the street four times, he says.

“Everybody would like to have the city raise the road up but I don’t think its going to happen.”

READ MORE: Quebec flooding: Dozens of Rigaud residents defying mandatory evacuation order

“All these decisions take time, studies have to be made, properties have to be secured, it’s not as simple as it sounds,” Gruenwald Jr. said.

The mayor says this is something he has been trying to resolve for years and he understands the anger residents feel.

“Some people are getting frustrated because it’s taking too long,” Gruenwald Jr. said. “I challenge them to do it quicker.

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 “We are pushing on the button to (get) something done.”

The mayor says he is in talks with federal and provincial authorities to get the process underway and receive funding, but he says the whole process hinges on the study.

READ MORE: Rigaud resident says Quebec-made barrier saved home from flooding

With no permanent solution in sight, the mayor says the city has set aside emergency funding and has prepared contingency plans.

Gruenwald Jr. says he is prepared to raise the street temporarily if the waters should rise.

Currently, the waters are sitting stable and are not threatening, Gruenwald Jr. said.

In the meantime, barriers and sand bags have been placed along the water’s edge as a precaution to protect the street.

The mayor says he does not know when the evaluation will be able to begin.