Mother Nature jumps into the election
Aylmerites who suffered through the floods last year know that waiting around for help from the province and city yields unsatisfying results. And now that a tornado has struck, Aylmerites may be reconsidering their vote.
A class-action lawsuit against Gatineau is under discussion among flood victims as a result of damages and slow reaction time on the part of city officials. Homes which have repeatedly been filled with grey water and sewer water due to poor infrastructure are especially at risk of more damage, say these homeowners. They say they feel like their homes are like time bombs, awaiting the next big rain.
Despite the hasty appearances in public by politicians last year, and by candidates this year, voters point to continued difficulties in the system’s response time in getting help where it’s needed on the ground. After the floods, there was a bureaucratic bottle-neck that resulted in undo wait times for homeowners to renovate damaged homes. From what victims have told the Bulletin, they were ordered out of their homes and then restricted from carrying out renovations until a provincial analyst assessed the damage, giving them a certificate authorizing the work. Each analyst was also tasked with establishing if the home could even remain in its location, given that climate change has created new flood zones ... everywhere.
The wait from the analyst was in the order of six weeks to 10 months. In that time, irreparable damage settled into some homes – water damage that could have been handled immediately and more affordably is now too far gone.
Further complicating the flooding was Hydro Quebec’s role in managing water levels on the feeder-rivers of the Ottawa River, which, over a quick period of 48 hours became saturated, swelling into neighbourhoods.
Following the September 21st tornado, North Aylmer residents would be forgiven for having low expectations of help from public institutions. And since the disaster hit just ten days away from the provincial election, voters are taking a closer look at how the province handles emergency situations.
At press time, the province has promised a million dollars for victims, through the Red Cross. That’s just over $1,666 for each of the 600 affected tornado victims. Insurance companies have, apparently, communicated to their clients on how to proceed with re-establishing their broken lives. This million dollars is a help; it is realistic and prudent in the management of public money. But what voters in North Aylmer and in Breckenridge are wondering is how any new government is going to put in place genuinely efficient disaster assistance. They wonder if any province can simplifying the process of getting analysts into every damaged property to authorize works quickly. Some fear Quebec might even add more paperwork to the process.
Some campaign managers are wondering if these stricken voters will even bother to get to a poll while they race against rain after those 200/km winds.
You can prove them wrong.