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Asbestos found in tornado-ravaged Gatineau buildings

CBC News

Monday, October 1, 2018, 1:57 PM - Greenboro residents affected by last week's tornado are concerned about how to handle the cleanup and what help they will get to get back to normal.

The same tornado that touched down in the Arlington Woods, Craig Henry and at the Merivale transformer station hit the south Ottawa community of Greenboro as well, according to Environment Canada.

The federal agency says the winds had weakened by the time it got to the area, though there was still serious damage to trees and other properties.

Abdullah Aldalati​ came to ask several questions on behalf of his neighbours in the area of Pennard Way.

"I'm very blessed because I have other neighbours who don't have a roof or windows have been shattered. For me it's basically the siding of my house and my backyard," he said.

"My main concern is cleaning up the debris, cleaning up the trees that have fallen down."

City officials said crews will pick up downed trees if they are left by the side of the road. The city is also working with volunteers, mostly in Dunrobin and Barrhaven, to help deal with some debris on private property.


The city is also working to monitor the risk of exposure to asbestos from older homes that were damaged.

"If asbestos is now in the community, that presents a hazard," said Pierre Poirier, the manager of the City of Ottawa's security and emergency management department.

"We've gone through the housing tax roll to look at where there are homes that were built before 1980 and then match that up with some of the damaged homes we have. So we can actually prepare for that in terms of abatement, but also let the homeowners know."

The city said it has a working group to work on replacing the trees the tornadoes knocked down. It will look at city property first, but may expand to help homeowners.


Amy Chen attended the meeting on behalf of her parents, who had their roof damaged and bedroom windows broken in the storm. She is concerned about the trauma of the event.

"When it's windy they don't go out and don't continue doing their normal activities," she said. "Is there something I can do or help them integrate back to their normal lives?"

Officials from Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the provincial Emergency Medical Assistance Team said counselling services are available through them. OPH also has access to translation services.


Two additional community information sessions are being held Saturday.

  • Woodvale Pentecostal Church, 205 Greenbank Rd., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • West Carleton Secondary School, 3088 Dunrobin Rd., from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.


Councillors Diane Deans and Riley Brockington spoke at the meeting along with Mayor Jim Watson. Brockington told the story of where he was during last week's tornado and the damage at the Quarry Co-op housing complex.

"We saw all of their pine trees, all of their large 30-to-40-year-old pine trees down, leaning on houses in people's backyard," he said.

"The inner court of their courtyard looked like it had snowed. There was insulation from all of the attics all over the ground, covering cars, up the sides of other houses. About 18 homes had their roofs either lost or severely damaged."

Brockington praised co-op staff, along with city employees, who helped people displaced by the storm.


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