Pierrefonds-Roxboro flood victims sue borough – It has been almost one year since the Rivière des Prairies overflowed its banks, causing flooding that saw waters rise to record levels – hitting the Pierrefonds-Roxboro area especially hard. And now there are a group of residents who are tired of waiting for action and have taken it upon themselves to do something about it.
A reported 32 flood victims have decided to sue the borough for negligence – citing a lack of action contributed to damage during last year’s spring floods. Radio-Canada reported that the lawsuits are seeking anywhere between $500 and $135,000 in compensation for damages incurred.
The residents, most from 5th Avenue North, say the city failed to take any preventive measures and that they had an obligation to do so. In fact, they say Mayor Jim Beis also failed to fix a dike, despite requests to do so after it was breached several years ago.
The group alleges they saw the flood coming and had the dike been repaired, believe the flooding would not have been as bad. As well, the lawsuits claim Mayor Beis failed to deliver sandbags on time and that they wrote emails to him for help before the waters overflowed its banks.
In a CTV report, Klaus Bodnick, whose home had $40,000 in damages said they were told, “We have our experts looking at it and everything is okay. If the time comes that you’re flooded, you’ll have sandbags. The mayor even went on TV and said we have plenty of sand, call 311 and we’ll deliver sandbags. It never happened.”
Then in May, when the sandbags were needed most, they found out the bags which were stored in a borough warehouse, had been ‘destroyed due to taking up too much space’. Mayor Beis has since admitted it was a mistake.
Alain Furlano, another member of the group suing the borough and whose home was severely damaged, believes the borough’s priority is ‘making the sure the dike is repaired to ensure there is not a repeat of last year’s situation – and that sandbags will ‘not be enough hold back the rising waters’.
The group also claims that there used to be a barrier blocking the water, leading from train tracks adjacent to their street into a nearby forest, but at one point over the past few decades, a large part of it was taken away.
With meteorologists forecasting a risk of flooding again this spring, Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents are hoping measures will be put in place – well before they find themselves in the same situation.