A state of emergency was declared in St-André d’Argenteuil Friday evening and and 50 residents were evacuated due to flooding on Saturday along Rivière du Nord.

Affected residents were directed to an emergency shelter operated by the Red Cross at the Kevin-Lowe/Pierre-Pagé Arena in Lachute.

But, according to Red Cross Volunteer Supervisor Christine Desrosiers, just seven people made use of the services provided at the arena.

At 7:30 pm Saturday evening, the only people present at the facility were Desrosiers, two other Red Cross volunteers, and a City of Lachute employee who is an arena custodian.  No flood victims were staying overnight.

“Most are very prepared,” Desrosiers said about the residents who had to leave their homes.  She said many of them had found temporary accommodations in motels or with friends and family.

“They became very resourceful,” said Desrosiers.

The Red Cross remained at the arena until 11 pm Saturday evening in case any residents affected by flooding required assistance and they were again at the site beginning at 9 am Sunday.

The scene in St-André d’Argenteuil

On Saturday, the municipality of St-André d’Argenteuil was making sandbags available for property owners at the municipal dome at 72 rue Wales.  It was also providing regular online and phone updates on the flood situation for residents.

Earlier in the day Saturday, the floodwaters on the Ottawa River below the Carillon hydroelectric dam rose extremely close to the historic Caserne de Carillon barracks.  A barrier of large concrete blocks had been placed around the back of the building as protection should the water level increase further.

There was very little clearance between the surface of Riviere du Nord and the deck of the Route 344 bridge in the centre of St-André d’Argenteuil.

On what is usually a small channel between the east bank of the river and a small island, the water had risen as high as the rear wall of Boutique-Café Station 210.  Inside the shop, owners Louis-Robert Frigault and Karen Feiertag were doing business as usual but were also busy on the phone arranging help for their friends and neighbours whose properties were affected.

Between St-André d’Argenteuil and St-Placide, properties at the mouth of the Ottawa and du Nord rivers were flooded.  Police and firefighters had access roads to the riverfront blocked and were only letting residents pass.

Pointe Fortune and Rigaud

On the other side of the Ottawa River, there was considerable flooding of properties between Rigaud and Pointe-Fortune.

In Pointe-Fortune, the Ministère des transports du Québec had placed concrete highway barriers along the full length of the main street fronting the river in anticipation of higher water levels.

Hydro-Québec had placed temporary fencing and security guards around the Pointe-Fortune side of the Carillon hydroelectric dam’s spillway to prevent spectators from getting too close as people were showing up to watch the water roaring through the spillway.

Not quite 2017, but close

According to the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board (ORRPB), the joint agency that administers the river where it forms the Ontario-Quebec boundary, the water level was 42.2 metres at 8 am Saturday morning in Grenville.  At that same time on Saturday, the Ottawa River was flowing at 6,700 cubic metres per second at Carillon.

Flood levels are not expected to be quite as high as they were in 2017, but they will be close.  The ORRPB forecast at 4 pm Saturday suggest a peak level at 42.4 metres at Grenville for Monday, April 22.  The water level on that date in 2017 was 42.81 metres.

Concrete barriers along Chemin du Long-Sault in Pointe-Fortune. Photo: James Morgan