Quebec Premier François Legault says he has formed a committee of ministers to come up with a flood-prevention action plan.
On Tuesday, the premier dismissed the idea of creating a parliamentary committee to study the issue. He says it would take too long before the government could start implementing solutions to prevent future spring flooding.
“I’m a results-oriented guy so what I want short term, as soon as possible, is to have an action plan and take action and be ready for spring 2020,” Legault said.
The premier explained the move is to make sure flood victims don’t go through what happened in 2017. Nearly a year after the floods happened that spring, 92 per cent of victims had still not been compensated.
The group’s mandate is to speed up compensation as well as support municipalities in their recovery. It will also help municipalities to detect issues more quickly in order to make faster decisions.
Legault says the group will continue the process of redrawing flood plains and negotiating with municipalities about whether to rebuild or not.
“Of course, we’ll have to do that with the population, with municipalities,” Legault explained. “Some will decide that even if they’re not paid for, they want to stay there. Some others … well, we’ll have to make sure that we won’t reimburse them every year for the next 25 years.”
In addition, the group will be tasked with looking into ways to better prepare for possible flooding next spring.
“We need to know what we are going to do with homes in flood zones,” Legault told reporters during a press conference. “Spring 2020 is around the corner. We can’t take a year to do a parliamentary commission.”
WATCH: Quebec on helping flood victims
The group is getting together for the first time next week. It will be chaired by Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault, who will work along with eight other ministers.
The Coalition Avenir Québec government also said it is dispatching a “high-ranking official” to Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac to co-ordinate all government action during the area’s cleanup process.
“We don’t want people to be overwhelmed with administrative tasks. We want to help them find, as soon as possible, a good quality of life,” the premier said in a statement.
The government says it will also deploy officials to other areas affected by flooding.
—With files from Global’s Raquel Fletcher