Montreal boroughs say city needs to provide more support, resources for flood prevention

Click to play video: 'Climate change forcing Quebec to prepare for floods'
Climate change forcing Quebec to prepare for floods
WATCH: 2023 has been another difficult year for spring flooding in western Quebec. Until recently, the water levels that hit communities from Gatineau to Montreal were considered to be flooding that happened merely "once in a hundred years." However, it has happened in three of the last six years. As Mike Armstrong explains, climate change is forcing communities to prepare for the worst because it's happening often. – May 26, 2023

Workers spent weeks preparing for flooding in Île-Bizard.

Dikes were set up, sandbags were delivered and pumps were installed to prevent the river from flooding the community.

No major flooding was reported in the borough. But Île-Bizard–Sainte-Geneviève Mayor Stéphane Côté says that kind of prevention isn’t sustainable year after year — permanent solutions are needed.

“With the global situation, it’s going to get worse,” said Côté. “I don’t see myself for 20 years doing that with all my blue collars, my directors — they’re going to be exhausted. We cannot endure that for a long time.”

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Côté, Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough Mayor Jim Beis and Effie Giannou, city councillor in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, say while their boroughs were mostly spared major flooding, that’s thanks to the work their respective teams put in.

They want more support from Montreal.

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“They (City of Montreal) received almost $100 million from the two levels of government that was supposed to be used, or at least part of it was supposed to be used for flood prevention and crisis management. Where is that money?” asked Beis. “We want a report to tell us where did they spend that money.”

All three elected officials say permanent flood prevention and mitigation measures are needed in the three boroughs, like permanent dykes in vulnerable areas.

They also added that logistical help is needed to provide citizens with answers, arguing 311 isn’t sufficient.

“This is our third flood, so we need to have at least a proper channel, a proper communications channel for people to be able to call and get answers to their questions,” said Giannou.

Beis brought up the issue in Monday’s municipal council meeting.

Émilie Thuillier, Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough mayor and member of Montreal’s executive committee, said there will be a post-mortem on the flooding situation once the city is out of intervention mode.

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