Flooding turns Ontario neighbourhood into island accessible only by boat

News source from CTV News

CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver

Published Saturday, May 11, 2019 6:22PM EDT

Last Updated Saturday, May 11, 2019 10:16PM EDT

Flooding has left about 100 people northwest of Ottawa living temporarily on an island.

Sandbags protecting a neighbourhood in the Lacroix Bay area near Pembroke, Ont. were overwhelmed in recent weeks when the Ottawa River rushed in, leaving residents completely surrounded by water.

Now, they can only access their homes by boat.

“It’s a challenge,” resident Lynda Rose told CTV News. “We all take turns using the boat.”

Rose only visits her home on weekends to drop off groceries and other supplies for her husband, who stayed back to help other residents and care for the family cat.

“The army is in every day. They come in and … make sure that we have medication — whatever we need,” she said.

The region declared a state of emergency due to the floods at the end of April. The isolated community is a mix of permanent homes and cottages.

Kevin Collins said the waters just keep rising.

“It will take two weeks to even go down to 2017 levels where you might be able to start using the road again,” he said.

How quickly the waters recede will depend on how much it rains, and more is in the forecast.

The Ottawa River Regulating Committee said on Saturday that residents of the Mattawa area could face even higher water levels this weekend. Levels are expected to peak on Saturday in Pembroke, Westmeath and Lac Coulonge.

The City of Pembroke declared a state of emergency on Thursday and soldiers from a nearby base were deployed Saturday to protect homes. Soldiers worked together to build a sandbag wall at a park near the water.

About 25 homes are at risk. Shawn Bergeron’s is one of them. His family built a retaining wall around their home after flooding in 2017, but now the wall is under water.

“It’s very scary,” he said.

Last night, the Bergerons received news that their insurance will not be renewed.

“Knock on wood we don’t need it,” he said. “But it’s just a kick in the you-know-where at the wrong time.”

Melting snow and heavy rainfall have triggered spring floods in communities across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada in recent weeks.

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