by Rhonda Massad
with files from Nader G. Barsoum
Frustration was on the menu at the May, public council meeting in Ile Bizard. The question period was filled with flood-related questions and requests for action.
“We need a permanent solution,” resident Sandy Fisher stated in an interview with West Island Blog. “Not everyone can manage to sandbag. Many of the people on our street are too old for this kind of work. The season to correct this situation is a short one. We need action now. We can’t look into this, study it, review it. There is no time for that.”
Flood-related questions ranged from how could you let residents rebuild on Ile Mercier without a plan for the bridge to how could you stop the army from helping. Enraged residents called for the Mayor’s resignation.
“At the council meeting, I informed the citizens of all the efforts that were put into protecting the residents that were affected by the floods,” said ‘Île-Bizard/Sainte-Geneviève’s Mayor, Normand Marinacci. “I also took the time to thank everyone that was involved, employees, volunteers, and the citizens. Afterward, residents of Joly street expressed their concerns regarding the protection of their street. Some interventions were respectful and constructive, while others were politicized. The directors and I answered the questions that were asked.
According to Ile Bizard resident, Scott Leggo, Mayor Marinacci refused the help of the military.
“The mayor did not use the help and resources made available by the military,” Leggo explained. “The military was frustrated at their lack of ability to contribute to the situation. I spoke to them myself. After the Mayor told us the army said no … they were there offering the help. He is twisting things. He never requested the help of the military.”
Marinacci says the city did request military services to build a dike.
“We requested their services and they went on Joly street to try
to build a dike behind the houses,” Marinacci explained. “Their engineers looked at the area and decided that it was not possible. Afterward, the army received an urgent request in Laval and so they had to leave. I never told the military not to help certain streets.”
Leggo presented a plan to protect Joly Street with a dike similar to the one erected on Jean Yves Street.
“It would have been huge. We could have managed it,” Said Leggo.
Residents are also gathering names for a class action lawsuit against the city. Environmental lawyer, Charles O Brian has agreed to take on the case.
“As far as the lawsuit goes, I am not aware of all the details at the moment, so I can’t comment,” Marinacci speculated. “However, as a lawyer, I know that they have to prove that there is a fault and that there are damages, and that there is a causal link between the two.”