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After weeks of non-stop work and worry, there is still little respite for beleaguered residents along lake Nipissing as steady rain and frequent winds continue and flooding keeps washing out yards and roads, even overtaking homes and cottages in lower-laying areas.
The serene view of sunrises and sunsets over Lake Nipissing has been replaced with the alarming sight of oncoming waves, with some of the worst flooding the community has seen in decades.
For many in Lavigne, leaving home in the morning is a gamble as they don’t know what they will come home to at the end of the day – or if they will even be able to return on flooded roads. As you drive on Eugene Road off of Highway 64, you come to an almost complete stop at Arbour and Comeau roads, which are completely flooded. It has been that way now for weeks, but residents are staying resilient as they continue to band together and lay down sandbags.
Helene Berthiaume and her partner James Winning have been working tirelessly since the flood has started.
“We put down at least 500 sandbags on our property, which has really helped with the water coming in,” she shared this Tuesday, May 28. “For me, my home is safe as it’s higher up on my property, but the boathouse as well as the bunkie have water damage. We don’t know the extent of the damage yet... but it’s there.”
Berthiaume says the silver lining is being able to rely on her neighborhood for constant updates and support. “I have a dog here at home, but I have bills. I have to get to work. So every morning when I leave to go to work, as I drive through a couple feet of water, I don’t know if I’ll be able to come back to my house. My neighbours have a spare key, and if something happens I know they’ll be able to get my dog out for me. It’s a team effort for us out here... Last Thursday [James and I] helped out folks on our street laying down sandbags and making sure they’re ok. It’s getting tougher but everyone’s looking out for each other. The water’s as high right now as it’s been in the last weeks. It’s terrifying. Some of my neighbours’ pipes are coming out of their basement windows and water is just gushing out. Their homes are ruined. I’m a new homeowner on the lake, but some of my neighbours have been here for years and they’ve all told me it’s the worst they’ve seen in a long, long time.”
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