Rosemère waiting for some subsidies for flood control
Rosemére mayor Eric Westram says the town is taking proactive action to deal with flooding from the Rivière des Mille Îles.
Martin C. Barry

Rosemère mayor Eric Westram began the town’s Nov. 11 municipal council meeting – which was taking place on Remembrance Day – by paying homage to the many thousands of Canadians who showed courage, determination and devotion while helping protect the country.

“If we have the privilege of living in a world where peace reigns, it is largely because of these people who valiantly served their country, often at the cost of their precious lives,” Westram said.

Tribute to veterans

“They were Canadian who sacrificed everything to protect the values and freedoms that we all treasure,” he continued.

“Yet still today, and beyond our own borders, our defenders continue to ensure peace and stability in other regions of the world. Together, let us remember the big sacrifice made by our fellow citizens. But most of all let us say thanks with all our hearts to our veterans for the heritage that is so dear to us.”

State of flood dikes

This was followed by a moment of silence observed by all in the council chamber at town hall, “in memory to those who paid with their lives for our peace and our freedom,” added Mayor Westram.

During the first questioned period, Jonathan Rheault of Louis Hémon St. told the mayor he wanted information on a study the town is working on regarding the state of the anti-flood dikes along the Rivière des Mille Îles.

Government subsidies

The mayor said the town’s three dikes are designed to stand up to 100-year floods. Rheault said he was aware that Infrastructure Canada had pledged a considerable amount of money for flood protection in Rosemère.

The mayor said that prior to the recent federal election, the town had been accorded a $4.4 million subsidy from Ottawa, which he said is supported by an equal amount from the Quebec government.

Waiting for Quebec

According to Mayor Westram, that will leave Rosemère with responsibility for paying a remaining $2 million since the dike construction project the town will be building amounts to around $10 million.

“The only portion that needs to be validated is from the government of Quebec, since the part from the federal was, as I said, allotted before the elections,” he said, while adding that the town is waiting for a study to be delivered in February which might determine where additional dikes need to be created elsewhere in Rosemère.

Applications in process

According to Councillor René Villeneuve, town council applied for a certain amount of money for the anti-flood infrastructure from both governments “in case we should ever need it,” he said.

Mayor Westram added, “We were asked by the office of Linda Lapointe, who was our MP at that point, I would say three weeks to a month before the election, to mention a certain amount of subsidies with regards to our flood zones.

Waiting for a report

“We preferred to be cautious,” he continued. “We said we hadn’t yet gotten back the report from our engineers regarding the actual state of our current dikes.” He said the town plans to take the subsidies while keeping in mind that they could come in handy for future flood control.

Rheault, who has two properties near the water in Rosemère, said the arrival of spring is always a great concern. “We see the water rising, and there was confusion last year,” he said. “All of this to say that everything is clear: when you say the subsidies are going ahead we are willing to believe you.”

An ounce of prevention

Westram said that regardless of the situation, but taking into account that even if major flooding were to recur in Rosemère, “we will do what we did last year. We’ll add to the existing dikes in case. We’ll be acting preventively. “For us it will be important to validate the state of the dikes,” Westram continued. “We want to make sure that what happened in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac doesn’t happen here. That’s why we want to make sure our dikes can stand up to a 100-year flood.”