Residents living on a small island in northwest Montreal are watching and waiting anxiously as water levels rise and they have no way off the island.
Montreal’s emergency response department ordered the bridge on Louis-Roch Street from Ile Bizard to Mercier Island closed to vehicle and foot traffic on Wednesday.
Ile-Bizard–Sainte-Genevieve borough mayor Stéphane Côté said the residents were well-prepared for the flooding.
“We got them sandbags pretty soon, probably two weeks ago, we’ve got water pumps working on the other side, but with mother nature, it’s never sure,” he said. “I hope we don’t have too much rain in the next few days.”
Côté said that though more rain than expected hit the area, dikes and sandbags were in place to prepare for possible flooding.
No homes in the 37-house community were flooded and Montreal emergency services said the decision was made after consulting with engineers who felt it was the safest course.
“We made the decision that it was safest for everyone to close the bridge right now,” said Montreal fire department (SIM) chief Martin Guilbault. “We’re not asking people to leave. If they leave the island, they can’t return.”
Guilbault said those residents who want to leave should call 311 and not try to leave on their own via boat.
NO EVACUATIONS, NO FLOODED HOMES
Guilbault said there is no major flooding on the island at the moment. No evacuation orders have been issued and no homes have been flooded.
“We expect that the water level will go to 7,800 cubic metres per second,” he said. “All the work done by the boroughs and the related cities has paid off.”
Montreal police (SPVM) commander Michael McDermott is leading the police flood response and said Anse a l’Orme Road at Timberlea-Trail Street was also closed in Kirkland.
“We have more than 60 police officers on the field right now to make sure the situation is good,” he said.
PERMANENT SOLUTIONS NEEDED
Côté said the three levels of government need to work together to come up with a concrete plan to tackle the effects of climate change.
The houses on Ile Bizard’s south shore, he explained, were built on marshlands 60 years ago, and within 20 or 30 years, those houses will likely need to be abandoned.
“We need to fight climate change… We need to make permanent measures,” he said. “We need money to do it. This is what I’m looking for.”
With reporting from Olivia O’Malley.
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