'Really disappointed': Sandbag shortage angers weary Ottawa-area flood victims
Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, May 8, 2017 8:52PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 8, 2017 9:00PM EDT
Tempers are boiling over in flood-ravaged Ottawa-area neighbourhoods as sandbag supply shortages hamper the efforts of volunteers and residents desperately working to save as many homes as possible.
Dozens of volunteers inside the Campeau arena, near hard-hit Gatineau, Que., were left staring at huge piles of sand without a single bag to fill while flood waters continued to rise on Monday. On the other side of the Ottawa River in Orléans, one volunteer said she found the sandbags she filled on Sunday unused and locked behind a chain-link fence.
Sammylee Crete got in her car on Monday looking for answers. In a video posted to Facebook, she appears to confront Ottawa municipal workers over the perceived mismanagement.
“I want to know what my hard work did yesterday. It really disappoints me that the City of Ottawa still has these bags sitting here when so many people need them,” she said in the video. “I know I certainly did not go home in pain last night to have bags sitting here like this.”
A male voice off camera told her “I don’t know” and “you’re talking to the wrong person.” She later said via Facebook that the bags in question have been moved.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson assured reporters the sandbags are reaching communities in need at an appearance with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Monday.
“We have about 140,000 bags here in Ottawa. We got them a couple of days ago. We have sent a number of them, I don’t know the exact number, but it is tens of thousands over to Gatineau, as well as to Clarence-Rockland,” he said.
Stefanya Angel Lalonde-Haddad said she was followed by Ottawa Police after volunteers helped her load her truck with sand in Orléans, in a Facebook video posted Sunday.
“Apparently we are thieves because we went to Trim Road to take the sand that they had no use for. They just wanted us to leave it on the curb,” she said in the video. "We brought it to the people that needed it in Rockland, because they were out of sandbags, and they needed the help. So the Ottawa Police followed us to Rockland, and are making a big deal out of this.”
Another man who spoke to CTV Ottawa said he ran out of sandbags yesterday, and had to wait until Monday morning for more to be brought in from Winnipeg.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale defended the federal response to flood relief efforts in Ontario and Quebec on Monday. He said the government is reaching out to the private sector to find up to four million sandbags, if they are required.
“The key thing is make sure the resources are there to keep people safe,” Goodale said.
With files from CTV Ottawa and The Canadian Press