Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Nov. 20


 

Team of the Month

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Posted Sept. 21

Posted July 20

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

 

(Posted 7:30 a.m., May 24)
Flood victims left to repair water damaged homes
By Fred Sherwin
OrleansOnline.ca

A pile of sandbags sits outside a home on Leo Lane in Cumberland.Volunteers were busy on the weekend helping residents take away the last of the sandbags from the riverfront properties. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Residents living on Leo and Boise Lanes near Cumberland Village have been busy cleaning up in the aftermath of the worst flooding in recent memory with a little help from a small army of volunteers.

On Saturday, a group of volunteers organized by SBO Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue cleared away the last of the debris left behind by the receding Ottawa River as well as dozens of sandbags from around the houses on Leo Lane.

Residents living on Leo and Boise Lanes near Cumberland Village have been busy cleaning up in the aftermath of the worst flooding in recent memory with a little help from a small army of volunteers.

On Saturday, a group of volunteers organized by SBO Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue cleared away the last of the debris left behind by the receding Ottawa River as well as dozens of sandbags from around the houses on Leo Lane.

When the last of the sandbags were placed in the bucket of a front-end loader, the 20 or so volunteers let out a loud cheer, including Rejean Levesque and his 20-year-old son Alexandre who heard the call for help on CBC radio.

Leo Lane flood victim Michel Potvin stands outside his home after the water had receded. Below his house as it looked during the flood. Fred Sherwin/Photo

“We came down to do our share and to help ease the pain of these people who have to deal with this,” said Rejean.

Resident Rollande Roberge was immensely grateful for the work the volunteers did in removing the heavy sandbags from the back of their house.

“Knowing that we don’t have to get those sandbags out, that’s a huge weight off our shoulders because we broke our backs putting them in,” says Roberge whose husband Frank was supposed to retire this year but will likely have to contnue working to pay for the thousands of dollars in repairs.

None of the residents who live on Leo and Boise Lanes have insurance to cover the damage they incurred because insurers will not cover homes located in flood plains.

That means residents like the Roberges and their neighbours will have to pay for the repairs on their own.

Rollande and Frank plan to do all the work themselves with the help of their son Sebastien.

The first step was to tear up what was left of their hardwood floor, remove the baseboards and cut away the three feet of drywall which will have to be replaced.

“My husband was supposed to retire this year, but now he’s going to have to keep working to pay for all this,” said Roberge.

Next door, Genevieve Landry and Chris Blenkiron have also been busy ripping out flooring, drywall, cabinets and other material affected by the flood. They too are looking at a massive repair bill.

“The estimate we’ve been given is $7 per square foot and we’re looking at 3,000 sq. ft. plus a new kitchen, new bathroom, new laundry room cabinets, all the drywall, all the flooring, so... ” said Landry, her voice trailing off.

The couple had gutted the home when they bought it four years ago and completely renovated the property. Now they have to start all over.

“This is our dream home. We’re still in love with the house, but are we still in love with the river... maybe not as much,” said Landry, managing a small laugh.

The work in cleaning up their home has been made much easier with the help of volunteers, family and friends.

“The volunteers have been extraordinary. They put so much joy and so much love in your heart. It’s really been encouraging,” says Landry. “It’s the volunteers, our family and friends, and God who have been able to keep us going through this nightmare.”

Dan Tetreau worked tireless day and night for four days shoring up sandbags and keeping his three gas-powered pumps working around the clock in attempt to protect his house from the rising water.

He and his wife eventually had to leave their home when the hydro was cut off for safety reasons. The water breached his sandbag walls and flooded the main floor of his modest bungalow the next day.

“We’ve had to throw out a lot of stuff and now we have to start ripping out the floor and the drywall,” Tetreau said on the weekend. Due to a lack of financial resources, the 63-year-old will have to do all the work himself.

Michel Potvin was looking forward to spending his first year of retirement at his newly renovated home which sits on a point at the end of Leo Lane. He returned home from a trip to Florida the day before the flooding began.

“I got back on (April) 25th and the flooding started on the 26th,” said Potvin.

The receding Ottawa River left his home with extensive damage including the foundation which will have to be replaced at an estimated cost of $60,000.

“We’ll have to lift up the entire house and replace the cinder blocks with a proper footing and a poured (concrete) foundation,” explains Potvin who quickly dismisses any thought of selling.

“Absolutely not. This is my paradise. When I was in Florida, I kept thinking about what it will be like to finally enjoy a summer without having to do anymore work on the place, but now I will have to start over, that’s all. You do what you have to do,” said Potvin, echoing the thoughts of many of his fellow flood victims.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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