After outrage and indignation about the release of Quebec’s new flood zone maps, West Island mayors have made the trek to Quebec City to meet with the province’s municipal affairs minister, Andrée Laforest.
The mayors said they came out of the meeting happy and hopeful.
“I think people left very satisfied this morning,” said Laforest.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” replied Beaconsfield mayor Georges Bourelle.
“As the mayor of Beaconsfield I was not very happy about the maps,” Bourelle explained. “Today, we really had a positive meeting with the minister. She really heard what we had to say and she promised us that there will be some very positive results announced very shortly.”
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Bourelle and several other mayors were furious when the province released its new flood zone maps in June, placing thousands of homes in the special planning zones, even if the homes had never been flooded.
“It made us feel confident that with the right information and the facts, they’re listening to us and they’ll do the right things to remove the houses that need to be removed,” said Pointe-Claire mayor John Belvedere about the meeting.
Each municipality had a chance to present their specific needs and recommendations on how the government should handle its special planning zones.
Pierrefonds mayor Jim Beis has been vocal about the lack of communication with the province.
“Now, with the proper communication and the willingness of this government to sit around the table with us, we will be able to not only find solutions to redefine the maps, but also to find adequate solutions to prevent flooding and crisis management in the future,” Beis said.
In order to make the best decisions, the mayors say it is important for the province to know how distinct each West Island community is and that no solution fits all.
“We all have different realities and they were very open to come up with solutions that are based on facts and where the flooding really happened,” said Baie D’Urfé’s mayor Maria Tutino.
Homeowners have until August 19th to ask their municipalities to be removed from the flood zones.
Laforest says several areas will be withdrawn from the special planning zones, but others won’t.
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