West Quebec communities add up flood costs

People affected by spring flooding in the Outaouais are starting to determine how much damage has been caused by the now-receding waters.

People left their homes in some of the communities affected by higher-than-normal water levels last week, which was brought on by higher-than-normal rainfall.

Residents in Gatineau, the Pontiac and Saint-André-Avellin, are returning home as the situation stabilizes, but life is not back to normal just yet.

On Sunday night, the City of Gatineau said the situation is improving with water levels gradually decreasing. While some roads remain closed, anyone who left their homes can now safely return.

The flood relief centre that opened a few days ago is now closed and the focus is shifting to inspecting roads and buildings for damage, along with cleaning up debris, according to a city spokesperson on Sunday.

1.5 metres of water

In Saint-André-Avellin, about 80 kilometres northeast of Gatineau, water levels are dropping and residents forced from their homes by flooding are starting to come back to get a sense of the damage.

Jonathan St-Arnaud told Radio-Canada his mother's basement has about 1.5 metres of water in it and he's worried about mould.

The owner of the restaurant Au Vieux Chaudron said one of her freezers in the basement was ruined and more of her equipment will likely end up damaged by the flood.

The municipality's general manager, Marie-Claude Choquette ,told Radio-Canada on Sunday it's working with residents to help them receive compensation from the province for the flood damage, which has been offered to 10 municipalities in the Outaouais.

The mayor of the Pontiac told Radio-Canada on Sunday water levels had stabilized in that area and the situation is heading in the right direction.

The state of emergency was still in place on Monday morning and the help centre at the Luskville Community Centre was still open for people needing housing, food and toiletries.