Some Montreal residents becoming increasingly frustrated over repeated flooding

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Some Montreal residents becoming increasingly frustrated over repeated flooding
WATCH: The waters from the flooding following last Thursday's storm may have receded, but hundreds of Montreal residents are still dealing with the aftermath, assessing the damage and unsure what they'll do next. Many blame their municipalities for failing to ensure that infrastructure is flood resistant. Global’s Phil Carpenter reports. – Jul 18, 2023

Flood waters following a storm Thursday that blanketed the Montreal area may have long receded, but hundreds of residents in multiple neighbourhoods across the city are still dealing with the aftermath, unsure what they’ll do next.

People living on Victoria Street in Lachine describe the water on that street as a river after the rain, saying the water almost completely submerged several cars and flooded residential buildings.

Rob Lynch says his condo building was badly affected.

“All of our basement and ground-floor units were flooded, vehicles were destroyed, garages and storage lockers, all totalled,” he told Global News.

His neighbour, Roderick Hassani, whose unit is in the basement, lost nearly everything.

“All my guitars were on stands, pretty low to the ground, the beds are gone, the dressers had TVs on them and when they started floating they tipped over so all the TVs went, Play Station went, studio equipment,” he explained.

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He estimates damages at around $50,000.

Property owners are upset because they say it’s the third time this building and others around there have flooded.  They argue that part of the problem is the new residential and commercial buildings that have sprung up on the street in the last decade.

“While the city has approved those plans they haven’t done anything to improve their own drainage infrastructure on the streets,” Lynch argued.

Those living in the western part of the NDG neighbourhood are also cleaning up after basements there also flooded, with water rising several feet in places and in some cases causing ten of thousands of dollars in damage per household.

“The damage happened after the storm when the rain had stopped and the water level started to rise,” explained Ilana Grostern who lives on Connaught Avenue.

She and others estimate that about 600 homes over 11 blocks were hit and that this is the ninth flood.  These residents also blame city infrastructure and are planning a class action lawsuit against the city.  They’re now trying to gather as much information as they can to help bolster their case.

“We’re trying to pool the knowledge right now,” explained Doran Smith, Grostern’s husband.  “Understand what everyone’s going through, understand the extent of the damage, the area of the coverage and make sure that we’re all on the same page, that nobody’s left behind.

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If frequent flooding from heavy rains continues,  one lawyer Global News spoke to, Charles O’Brien of Lorax Litigation, believes more class-action lawsuits like this against municipalities are likely.  According to him, if residents believe the city is at fault they must act quickly.

“Within 15 days of the damage occurring, send a letter to the clerk of the City of Montreal setting out that they’ve got damage and they’re going to make a claim,” O’Brien pointed out.

The borough of Lachine declined to comment considering the case may go to court and Global News did not get a response from the Côte-des-Neiges–NDG borough in time for deadline.

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