Public Security flood damage reports slowly trickling in - Families unable to rebuild

Added: Sat, 09/23/2017 - 12:41pm
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Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC & PONTIAC – Almost five months after the severe spring floods began, homeowners are just starting to receive reports from the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) that evaluate the damages to their homes; these numbers determine if they can rebuild in their current location.
After receiving a MPS damage evaluation, homeowners must visit their municipal office to verify the rebuild value of their home (based on an MRC calculation that takes into account market values, depreciation, etc.) and obtain the
appropriate permits (renovation, building, demo) based on their situations. If the damages to a home in the 0-20 year flood zone exceeds 50% of the home's MRC evaluation, only demolition permits can be issued.
According to both Dominic Labrie, Municipality of Pontiac Communications Officer, and Eric Rochon, Mansfield Director General, obtaining the MPS's reports has been very slow.
“Public security says all of the [claim forms] have been received, but most of their reports are incomplete. Most of the time, flood victims still need to obtain quotes to have the MPS finish their evaluation; we can't work on a file until this is complete,” said Labrie, who along with Rochon, works for a municipality severely hit by the flooding.
To date, three Mansfield homeowners have received reports out of the over 40 who submitted claims. “We haven't had to refuse any work (rebuilding) yet. The reports are still very slowly coming in,” said Rochon.
The village of Fort-Coulonge has not met with any residents to date, so it is unlikely any homeowners have received reports. The situation is similar for Waltham, where about ten claims were submitted. L'Isle-aux-Allumettes did not return the Journal's calls.
According to Labrie, the Municipality of Pontiac has met with about 10 families
to date, most of whom are unable to rebuild. “In those cases, the damage
ratio was around 100%. We issued two demolition permits this week. These lots have basically no value because no one will be allowed to build on them,” he said, stating there will be more families facing the troubling news, but that an estimate of how many cannot be made.   
Flood victims unable to rebuild can be compensated through the MPS if they agree to clean their properties and sign them over to the municipality for $1; the maximum compensation (house, lot, and lot cleaning) is $250,000, which, according to Labrie, many residents feel
is not sufficient.