City of Ottawa employees bring sand bags to homes on Boisé Lane that are being flooded by the Ottawa River in Cumberland, April 26, 2019.
Jean Levac / Postmedia News
Erica Fleming and her partner, Alfred Bou-Rjeili, are anxiously watching cold water from the Ottawa River inch closer and closer to the exterior of their home in Cumberland for the second time in three years.“We had no idea this was even possible,” Fleming said from their home on Boisé Lane.Bou-Rjeili said the water at their home is currently about 35 centimetres below its peak in 2017. When that peak did hit, they suffered about $35,000 in damages, thanks to a flooded finished basement. To add to it all, Fleming was just two weeks away from her due date at the time.Now with toddler Tilania in tow, Fleming and Bou-Rjeili said they received a notice from the city Friday morning that their power will be cut off sometime in the next 24 hours. While they have a propane-powered generator at the ready, the news still put a damper on their mood.“It’s still not as stressful as 2017,” Flanders said, staring out at the churning, swelling river beginning to take over her backyard from her kitchen.“Not yet.”Nearby, boats were moored in what used to be driveways, sump pumps roared and one homeowner worked steadily building a plywood dike across his garage against the rising water as dozens of volunteers filled sandbags.Near the foot of Armstrong Road, Remi Delorme was monitoring the floodwaters lapping his driveway with the help of his father and father-in-law said he and his young family feel much better prepared than last time.Their home was already ringed with a neat wall of sandbags. Volunteers knocked on Delorme’s door a week ago asking how they could help and mobilized on Easter Sunday to sandbag.On nearby Leo Lane, residents were reaching their homes by canoe while half-a-dozen military members assessed the flood danger.Rollande Roberge was racing to clear belongings from the lower level of her home.Water was rising against the $70,000 water-filled balloon neighbours bought to encircle their homes.“If the water gets higher, it’s just going to go over the balloons,” she said, the stress audible in her voice.“If we flood this year, I’m out. I’m done.”Roberge’s home sustained $86,000 in flooding damage in 2017.Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais, surveying the flood waters on Morin Road in hip waders, said that he was waiting for the latest word on the forecast with up to 20 homes in the area directly affected by the flood waters.“It’s yet to be known what the impact of all that water will be,” he said.Showers were set up at the Cumberland arena because well water may not be safe to use. Blais has also asked that residents whose power is being cut off get at least four hours notice so they can fire up generators.About 30 military personnel were expected in the Boisé Lane area by afternoon to move the thousands of sandbags already filled by volunteers, Blais said.He hailed the people who’d already turned out at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum ready to fill sandbags, about 70 of them by midday Friday, and asked the community to sustain the effort.“I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and all the hundreds of volunteers who have been giving so much time,” Blais said.“We will need lots more sandbags in the next couple of days.”Just east of the city limits in Clarence Rockland, where Mayor Guy Desjardins declared a state of emergency Friday, Jean Lamoureux fired up the “Voisine Express.”That’s what he christened the small motorboat during the 2017 floods when he first used it to ferry his neighbours to their homes on flooded Voisine Street.His home is safe with two sump pumps running but he’s offering the rides to neighbours who aren’t so lucky and their friends and family who were arriving in a steady stream to help. Others were crossing the new lake in the bucket of an excavator.Lamoureux pointed to a post in the distance on which residents of the private road had marked the 2017 flood level, only about 25 cm above Friday afternoon’s height.“The water is still rising,” he said.