Quebec’s rebuild policy worries flood victims
Hundreds of people attended a public consultation, July 10, at the Palais des Congrès in Gatineau, to discuss the Quebec government’s new parameters for rebuilding
homes on a flood plain. Released last month, the ruling states that if
more than 50% of a home was damaged, owners will not be permitted to
rebuild. For “exceptional circumstances” the allowed damage is set at 65%.
At the meeting, Guillaume Carle, Grand Chief of the Confederation of Indigenous People of Canada, charged that “the premier of Quebec lied to us. We heard the premier tell us on television that he wouldn’t force anyone to move from their homes.”
In a letter to Ministers Martin Coiteux and David Heurtel, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin indicated that he “does not wish to repeat the mistakes of the past but we want a real solution for the short and long term and what is currently being proposed is not suitable.” He goes on to say, “In our eyes the response that was given by the government does not reflect the commitment that was made and is unacceptable to us.”
Residents not allowed to rebuild will receive up to $200,000 in compensation for their home and another $50,000 for their land, provided they relocate off a flood plain.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs held 17 public consultations, July 10, throughout Quebec. Regional Director Catherine Bellemare said their purpose was to receive feedback from residents affected by the historic spring flooding, which will be presented to the minister.
The province has yet to announce details on restricted rebuilding, but the idea itself concerns residents in the Gatineau region where up to 1,400 homes suffered damage. Of top concern is how officials will actually measure the 50% threshold for damages.
The Ministry of Public Security is completing a post-flood evaluation of properties. City Council earlier this month called on the province to wait for the results of the evaluation before evicting homeowners whose land is considered likely to flood again in the next 20 years.
According to Mme Bellemare, areas along the Ottawa River will be divided into three zones: those with a 50% chance of repeat flooding, those with a 15% chance and those where the flood risk is 1%. Homeowners in the 50% category will not be allowed to rebuild.
Many unhappy residents lined up with their questions and concerns, but it remains unclear how or when the province’s plan will unfold. Bellemare said there will be further consultations this fall.