Officials still monitoring Gatineau River, waters expected to soon recede

·2 min read
Sandbags are stacked along a street in the Touraine neighbourhood of Gatineau, Que., on May 27, 2022. City officials are urging people to keep their flood preparations in place, even though the risk of local flooding appears to be diminishing. (Patrick Louiseize/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Sandbags are stacked along a street in the Touraine neighbourhood of Gatineau, Que., on May 27, 2022. City officials are urging people to keep their flood preparations in place, even though the risk of local flooding appears to be diminishing. (Patrick Louiseize/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Officials say they're still monitoring water levels along the Gatineau River but don't believe it will flood in the immediate Gatineau, Que., area in the short term.

Many of the city's residents were bracing for water levels to surpass the area's flooding threshold, but on Friday officials downgraded the emergency alert level, saying they were now simply monitoring the situation.

At a Saturday afternoon press conference, Gatineau Mayor France Bélisle encouraged residents to keep any dikes they'd built in place but not necessarily construct new ones.

"We're also working with different experts, and based on what they've looked at, we feel confident that at this stage [that we should still be] monitoring the situation," Bélisle said.

"We don't feel [it's an] emergency at this stage."

Earlier this week, the city distributed sandbags so residents could shore up their properties, believing precipitation could cause parts of the city to flood for the third time in six years.

Some officials expected the water would flood people's homes as soon as Saturday.

Alexander Behne/Radio-Canada
Alexander Behne/Radio-Canada

But officials now believe water levels should decrease early next week. Financial assistance programs exist to help compensate for costs incurred during the preparation.

Bélisle said residents would receive more information in a few days — including how to get rid of their sandbags.

Flooding in Maniwaki region

Other parts of the Outaouais are feeling the impact of the high waters, including farther north in the Maniwaki, Que., region where several roads were closed Saturday and some basements were flooded.

Denis Lemieux said he's been trying to keep the water out his snowmobile club's building, which serves as both a garage and a meeting place for members.

Yesterday, the dike around the building gave way, he said.

"There's maybe three feet of water inside," he told Radio-Canada in a French-language interview Saturday. "Of course there are losses. We weren't able to save everything."

The Ottawa River, meanwhile, is not at risk of flooding.

Michel Aspirot/Radio-Canada
Michel Aspirot/Radio-Canada
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