May 17, 2017 10:29 pm

Quebec floods: Premier wants flood zone information made public

Premier Philippe Couillard says he won't make any decisions about changes to Quebec's flood policies until after Quebecers finish dealing with the fallout from the recent flood.

Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has been clear about the fact that climate change could make flooding increasingly commonplace in the province. He said the status quo must change.

For instance, those with properties currently on a flood plain likely wouldn’t know it. Many homeowners have unwittingly built and bought on lands at risk of flooding.

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“The question is not: ‘Could we have prevented some of the flooding?’ I think the answer is yes. How much of it could have been prevented?” said Parti Quebecois leader Jean-François Lisée.

READ MORE: Quebec floods: New questions raised about Pierrefonds West development

The problem is that Quebec does not have an overarching watershed authority. The province used to have a program to map flood plains that operated from 1998 to 2004.

“Then it was stopped and it was said that municipalities would take over. Some did, some didn’t,” Lisée said.

The Parti Quebecois is pushing for a provincial independent commission to do this work.

READ MORE: Quebec floods: Can future flooding be prevented in the province?

During Tuesday’s question period, the premier said he would “take the suggestion into consideration.”

Many communities are often reluctant to make flood zones public, fearing it could lower property values.

“That information should be made accessible, especially to buyers of existing homes,” Couillard said.

“We need to have a scientific approach about that,” said CAQ MNA Simon Jolin-Barrette.

The CAQ agrees, but on one condition: that people who currently live in areas at greater risk of flooding not be denied financial assistance.

The premier said he won’t make any decisions while Quebecers are still dealing with the aftermath of the recent floods.


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