After last spring's devastating floods across Quebec, one McGill University professor has pitched a new solution to the City of Montreal — one that he says is a faster and cheaper way to protect people's homes.
Thousands of Quebecers surrounded their homes with sandbags last spring to brace themselves for floodwaters. This was the go-to protection method advised by the city.
But many people's homes, especially those near bodies of water, were still damaged — so badly that nearly one year later, 77 families across the province are still being accommodated by the Red Cross.
'Very easy' flood-proofing method
According to Dr. Amar Sabih, a mechanical engineering professor at McGill, all you need to flood-proof your home is synthetic plastic tarp made of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and metal barriers commonly seen at outdoor events in the city.
"[Setting up the barrier] can be done in 10 minutes for 20 feet," Sabih said. "So imagine we have a house. It can be done in less than two hours. Very easy."
That's much less compared to the time and effort needed to fill and stack hundreds of sandbags.
Sabih said the tarp will do a much better job of containing the water.
When put in front of houses along a residential street, he said the barriers would allow water to flow down the street without touching anyone's property.
"It will make the street look like a big swimming pool," Sabih said. "You'll just stay at the side, watching the flood water rise every day, but you'll be safe."
'Think out of the box'
He said he was motivated to find a solution after seeing many flood victims suffer because they were unable to save their homes.
In 2013, when McGill's downtown campus was hit especially hard by flooding, Sabih advised his students to use snow bags, not sandbags to stop the water from entering.
"I kept it in my mind that we should think out of the box and find new ways to deal with the flood and not to go to the traditional method of using sandbags," he said.
City open to the idea
Sabih has reached out to the city administration, who told him they're open to the idea, and that they've purchased thousands of metal barriers that are only used when a big event comes to town.
"I think we'll have plenty enough to save the city if we need," he said.
Using his method, it's possible to re-use the materials, unlike using sandbags. But municipal funding to run tests would be a big help, Sabih said.
Latest USA News
- Mental illness cited in deaths of Steinbach father and son
- Brrrrr-utal! Spring temperatures likely weeks away
- Wheeler, muckers lead way to victory
- Civil trials moving at brisker pace
- Taking a stand against harassment
- City eyes traffic lights at site of fatal collision
- Winnipeg has love affair with horror
- Waste not, want not
- A valuable space, lost in litigation
- Free Press Head Start for April 3
- Secret life of plants making music
- Ex-Hydro chairman refutes premier
- Wire-to-wire world champ
- Optimism shines bright at upbeat Juno Awards show in Vancouver
- Canada joins U.S., Europe in expelling Russian spies for British poison attack
- Feds ease restrictions on prescription heroin to address opioid epidemic
- Mexico official: Iowa family died from water heater gas leak
- White House: Trump thinks Stormy Daniels lied about threat
- Developer to alter Pembina Highway apartment plans
- It's a great time to be a sports fan in Winnipeg
- He has the answers
- Manitoba announces operators of legal cannabis stores
- Feds to help Churchill residents pay high cost of gas
- Journalism still necessary in Canada: survey
- Getting into the weeds
- A call for justice
- Family, friends gather to protest reduced sentences for young offenders convicted of killing Serena McKay
- Two people dead in fatal trailer fire in Grand Rapids
- 200 mourners attend funeral for boy killed at crosswalk
- Jets penalty killing third-best in the league
- New lease on life for Boyd Building
- Environment Canada issues extreme cold weather warnings for much of the country
- Film festival will promote black film makers
- Manitoba Theatre reports surplus
- Frigid temperature doesn't stop shoppers
- Thief nabs $30,000 worth of veal in stolen trailer on Christmas Day
- On a cold winter's night... their last Noel
- Quiet change to free downtown parking called deceitful
- Local shelters ensure everyone gets a warm bed during cold snap
- Thieves not idle: police warn drivers about increase in car thefts