Quebec announces $17.5 mil in additional aid for Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac flood victims

The Quebec government announced an additional $17.5 million in aid for flood victims of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac on Friday.

The measures include a second payout for the value of material goods lost during the flooding.

Eligible homeowners could also obtain a mortgage loan for up to 95 per cent of the market value of their property, as opposed to 80 per cent, which is the norm.

This is in addition to previously announced assistance, such as the CAQ government's program to buy homes in flood zones for up to $200,000 and covering the cost of demolition. Homeowners may also receive up to an additional $50,000 for the value of their land.

Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac mayor Sonia Paulus also announced that residents with flooded homes who want to move, but stay in the municipality, could receive a grant equivalent to the town's welcome tax.

Municipal affairs and housing minister Andrée Laforest said these extra measures are necessary and that Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac was an "exceptional" case. She cited the speed, scale, and unpredictable nature of the flooding that swept through the town earlier this year.

Residents were forced to evacuate with little warning after a dike burst, in what was described as a tsunami of water pouring into the streets.

Too little, too late?

But getting access to help has been rough, say residents who waited for months to find out if they would be eligible for assistance.

It's a good start, said Sophie Lajoie, whose home was one of the approximately 1,450 that flooded.

"We need it," she told Radio-Canada. "I can't finish fixing the outside of my house, because we ran out of money."

But Laura McGuigan, who has lived in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac for 29 years, said she paid off her mortgage ten years ago and that nothing announced Friday would help her.

She said that there's only one thing she wants to hear from the government.

"If they gave us for the value of our house [right before the flood], that would help," she said, "so that we can leave." 

"We're done. We are done. We've had enough."