Nelson Pimental, a big and strong man, stopped short of crying in the rain Friday afternoon.Alone and under a steady sheet of rain, he moved all of the contents from his flooded home (knee-deep) — from appliances to window blinds — to a new place on higher ground.He used a dolly and did the moving of seven men.The only rental he could find was on Glaude Street, just two over and, as of Friday, under water for two blocks and creeping up from the swollen Ottawa River. His pained face said it all, but Pimental, who just moved to Gatineau for a job as an auto mechanic, said he was thankful that his new place, at the north end of the street, is still dry.It was his worst moving day ever, but as the married father of a four-year-old said, “What are you going to do?”Down the street from his new place, the slowly rising river had flooded two blocks, but most of the homes still had dry basements thanks to sandbag walls and around-the-clock pumps. Some residents said they were more worried about sewage backup than flooding. There was sewage backup along the street in the disastrous flood of 2017. There are vacant lots on the street where homes once stood. A handful of homes had to be demolished after the last flood, the one forecasters said happened only once every 100 years.
Nelson Pimental moves a fridge in Gatineau.This is for 0427 Quebec, which is filed in WPPhoto by Garry Dimmock/PostmediaKeywords: 2019 floods, flooding
Gary Dimmock /
Pierre Blais stood on his porch for a smoke and said he wasn’t going to leave unless the power or the gas got shut off. He doesn’t like cold showers. His tidy home stands in the flooded part of the street, but so far his basement is dry.Roberto Pinto’s place down closer to the river, fortified with sandbags, is surrounded by water but still dry inside. His place was also hit by the 2017 flood, but he, like most everyone in Gatineau, is ready for it this time.“The last time, by the time we got the sandbags it was too late. We’re better prepared this time,” Pinto said.A few residents in the flooded, low-lying neighbourhood used boats to transport more pumps to homes closer to the river. Most residents were inside their homes, out of the wind and rain, and hoping for the best while ready for the worst.They say the river is rising slower than 2017. But they all remember that when it comes, it comes fast.
Homeowners in the Masson-Angers area have resorted to using boats, for the most part, to get around.
Julie Oliver /
Downriver to the east in Masson-Angers, an old lumber mill town that is now part of Gatineau, the river had swollen a kilometre up from the river, flooding a farm field through an overflowing culvert that leads behind two streets of homes. So some homes are facing flooding from behind and from the rising river, which has closed the ferry to Cumberland on the Ontario side, and forced many residents to use canoes, kayaks and fishing boats to get around as they tried to keep the water at bay.David Proulx, 33, and his friends have surrounded his two-storey home on Quai Road with 2,800 sandbags. They were hit hard in 2017 and were putting the finishing touches on their reno when this spring’s flood happened. The water is three-and-a-half feet deep at the far end of his backyard and so far holding at knee-deep against his sandbag wall just feet from his house, which is still dry inside. The last flood cracked his foundation and destroyed his main floor. But he’s the kind of man who rebuilds.Proulx is a hard-working furniture salesman. He doesn’t wear a suit and after he makes a sale he asks for your address because he’s also the guy who delivers it. And if it’s an appliance, he’s also the guy who installs it after he delivers it. He also mops the floor at the furniture store.
David Proulx’s home was 95 per cent fixed from the last flood in 2017 when this one hit.
Julie Oliver /
On Friday afternoon, the father of two boys, aged 1 and 3, stood outside his home and was anything but bitter.“I can’t be angry because it’s Mother Nature. I can be frustrated, and the hardest part is that the water doesn’t stop and we just keep fighting it,” Proulx said. He recalled the last flood and said it came really fast, wrecked his home and left pike in the backyard (two in the yard, one in the pool). He later released the stranded pike into the Ottawa River after the water had receded. (There was no sign of fish in the backyard on Friday, the opening day of trout season in Quebec.)Standing next to his wife, Karine Hubert, he surveyed his home, and said, “You never want to lose your house and you don’t want to go. We work hard for our house.”
The homes along the river in front of the ferry in Masson-Angers have suffered heavy damage and the road has become impassable.
Julie Oliver /
Directly across the road from the Ottawa River, Shirley Laws, 40, has been working around the clock to keep the water out of her home. She, like others close to the river in Masson-Angers, knows the drill better after the 2017 flood. She just renovated her home from the last disaster. Her sandbag wall is five feet high and she’s got a boat at the ready. She put on the Evenrude 9.9 hp the other day. On Saturday afternoon, the river was lapping the edge of the road, and by Friday afternoon, the water was right up to the edge of her home. The water, as of Friday night, was three feet deep against the sandbag wall. She’s got six pumps in the basement and, because some of them have broken down, she, as of Friday night, had been awake fixing and replacing pumps since 4 a.m. Thursday.Laws said Friday night her relatives will be relieving her so she can finally get some sleep in this year’s flood that has affected thousands in Gatineau and claimed the life of a woman who plunged to her death in a creek bed last weekend in Quyon after the road washed firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @crimegarden ALSO IN THE NEWS:‘People will lose a lot:’ Gatineau fighting floods alongside other Quebec communities Troops, premier arrive in Ottawa as record floodwaters rise; city prepares for evacuations In Constance Bay, students cut class — to help sandbag