Quebec removes 30 municipalities from its updated flood maps
The Quebec government has made changes to its new flood zone maps after rising floodwaters struck several parts of the province this spring.
After a series of consultations with municipalities and residents, the province announced on Monday it is taking 30 municipalities off its flood maps.
The new map for special intervention zones (ZIS), which was unveiled in June, initially put 813 municipalities and thousands of homes in flood zones.
Quebec’s Ministry for Municipal Affairs and Housing announced on Monday during a technical briefing that 783 municipalities are included in the revised flood zones. However, the province did not specify which municipalities are no longer considered part of special intervention zones.
Andrée Laforest, the province’s minister for municipal affairs and housing, said in a statement the new ZIS is an important measure to ensure the long-term management of flood zones. She also acknowledged the approach wasn’t perfect.
“I am aware that the current process may be of concern to municipalities and citizens,” she said. “This is one of the reasons why we held public consultations. It was important for our government to listen to the people directly on the ground.”
The City of Laval, on Montreal’s North Shore, commended the revisions. Mayor Marc Demers called the news “clear progress.”
“My discussions with Minister [Andrée] Laforest have borne fruit since the new decree is more in line with the reality of Laval,” he said in a statement. “Overall, the affected area has been reduced by 20 per cent.”
Earlier this month, several mayors in Montreal’s West Island spoke out against the new maps. Jim Beis, the mayor of the Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough, said at the time that many areas that were included as special intervention zones had never been flooded or considered at risk.
Daniel Khoury, head volunteer with flood relief efforts in Pierrefonds, praised the changes — but he said he believes the province should have never issued revised flood zones without being certain.
“It’s good that they are being reactive but from the start this map should never have been published,” he said.
The City of Beaconsfield also took issue with the province’s flood maps. Mayor Georges Bourelle asked the government to amend the draft to exclude his city “since no building in Beaconsfield was flooded in 2017 and 2019.”
But on Monday, Bourelle told Global News that most of the affected homes had not been removed from the maps.
“Unacceptable, totally unacceptable,” he said. “As far as I am concerned, it borders on the incompetence of the people that have done all this work.”
Bourelle is now considering taking legal action against the provincial government. He says he will hold an emergency council meeting on Wednesday.
In Pointe-Claire, several properties that were included in the map were removed shortly after the province’s draft order was made public.
Historic spring flooding struck more than 250 municipalities across Quebec in 2019. During the height of the floods, more than 10,000 residents were forced from their homes.
WATCH BELOW: West Island mayors, residents upset with new flood maps
— With files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez and Shakti Langlois-Ortega
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.