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Jacques-Cartier under water

  • Courtyard at 835 Rue Jacques-Cartier Gatineau, QC, J8T 2W3 Canada (map)

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About this tour

Let’s take a walk with John Savage a resident of Rue Jacques Cartier, to witness how his neighbourhood is adapting and rebuilding after this spring’s devastating flood.

Demolition, raised homes, installation of pumps and cisterns keeping water away from foundations, defensive walls and landscaping. Many of these upgrades are owner’s initiatives.

To John, some aspects of this area are examples of an environment modified by policies over decades, leading to the most recent floods being "…more acts of government than just acts of God”. For example, construction of the Carillon Dam in 1964, 107 km down river, raised the water level by two meters.

The nearby Parc La Baie used to be a wetland that absorbed water draining from the Jacques Cartier properties. The wetland became a landfill site operating for two decades until 1980s. That old landfill site is now much higher, and diverts runoff water into Jacques Cartier instead.

John notes that his neighbourhood’s infrastructure is poorly suited for floods, a “…superfluous use of guardrails and installations impede paddlers to deliver sandbags. Gates prevent evacuations of vehicles. Sand bag facilities [are] located too far away…”. To him it is “…paradoxical that the government is warning people not to build on flood plains, yet on rue Jacques Cartier, they are also supporting it. It's possible this area will be transformed into a newer, more upscale area, paving the way for big condo development rather than a neighbourhood that is depopulated. A visit here will certainly be a chance to take note of changes that may come faster than imagined.”

On this tour we’ll explore the Rue Jacques Cartier area, and hear-out many of John’s tales and observation about a neighbourhood to watch for years to come.

At the end of the tour, John Savage invites the participants of the tour to join him at the nearby The Pirate Restobar. The Pirate is also a flood victim, boasting spectacular view of the river.


John Savage

John Gaudaur Savage is a resident of rue Jacques-Cartier who has served as Vice President of his neighbourhood association, and has shared his skills as an organizer, lobbyist, and activist to protect and promote both the community and the natural environment for all to enjoy. As a Metis (Algonquin, Chippewa, French and British), whose ancestors traversed this area, he has a familial connection to these waterways possibly stretching back to the street's earliest residents 7,000 years ago. He is also a survivor of last year's flood, which his community is still recovering from. —

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Later Event: September 30
Future Homes exhibit