‘I’m angered’: Frustration growing in Beaconsfield over revised flood maps

Click to play video: 'Beaconsfield mayor livid over updated flood maps'
Beaconsfield mayor livid over updated flood maps
WATCH: The mayor of Beaconsfield says his council has not ruled out the possibility of a legal challenge to get their city off the province's updated flood maps. – Jul 16, 2019

The latest edition of Quebec’s flood zone maps was released on Monday by Quebec’s Ministry for Municipal Affairs and Housing during a technical briefing that saw 30 municipalities removed from the danger zone.

Severe spring flooding in several regions of the province prompted the government to release new flood zone maps to show special intervention zones (ZIS).

There were initially 813 municipalities and thousands of homes included in the flood zones, but after a series of consultations with municipalities and residents, that number fell to 783.

The West Island community of Beacsonsfield is one of those 783 at-risk communities — something the city’s mayor has trouble understanding.

“We never expected to be on a flood map in Beaconsfield,” said Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle, explaining that while many parts of the province grappled with historic flooding in 2017 and 2019, Beaconsfield remained dry.

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“There is no reason whatsoever in Beaconsfield to have properties in a flood zone. We just don’t have flooding,” he said.

Longtime residents of Beaconsfield agree.

Jacques Duval has lived at his home on the shores of Lac Saint-Louis for over 13 years. When water levels rose in the spring, Duval says there was still nearly a foot between the highest water level and his property.

“I’m fundamentally confident that the water will not exceed what it has this year and in 2017,” Duval told Global News.

Peak water levels behind Jacques Duval’s home in Beaconsfield in the spring of 2019. Courtesy Jacques Duval

The rezoning required by the new maps will affect the value of up to 175 homes in the area, not to mention rising insurance costs.

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The city has expressed its concern over the situation.

“I’m angered. As far as I’m concerned my residents are being unfairly treated,” Bourelle said.

“We’re playing with their lives. We’re playing with their financial security. I just can”t believe that a government would do this kind of thing to the residents.”

Bourelle said the city’s pleas to the government have so far fallen on deaf ears.

“We sent a resolution to Minister Andrée Laforest that we passed at council,” he said. “We listed every address in Beaconsfield that should be removed. They have totally ignored us.”

WATCH: (May 2, 2019) Does Quebec need better flood maps?

Click to play video: 'Does Quebec need better flood maps?'
Does Quebec need better flood maps?

Both the city and residents say they will fight to have their properties removed from the flood maps and are threatening legal action.

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“They’re not listening, so perhaps through legal action they will take us more seriously,” Bourelle said.

Duval echoed the sentiment.

“We’re going to use the system and make our point,” he said.

Global News reached out to the government for comment but did not receive a response.

The flood zone maps have yet to be finalized. Residents have until August 19 to ask to be removed from the projected flood zones, with the government saying modifications will be possible until September.

— With files from Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines and Kalina Laframboise.

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