Relief for flood victims

Added: Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:06pm
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Lionel Tessier (tr. AB)

FORT-COULONGE – On June 10 at the Pontiac Conference Centre, representatives from MAMOT (Ministry of Municipal Affairs) met with citizens for a consultation regarding a new regulation to address the consequences of the 2017 spring floods that hit 278 Quebec municipalities. In the Outaouais, 37 municipalities are affected by the new regulation. 
About 50 people attended the first part of the meeting where Pontiac MNA André Fortin, the mayors of Mansfield and Fort-Coulonge, representatives of Public Security, and Catherine Bellemare, MAMOT Regional Director, described the current situation as well as the highlights of the new regulation, expected to be adopted by mid-July. 
This spring, in the Outaouais alone, 5,300 homes were flooded (not including cottages) and 4,000 people were evacuated, some for several weeks.
The new regulation will be launched by the MRCs and municipalities, will apply only to primary residences, and will have a duration of 18 months. It will prohibit new construction in 0-20 year flood zones (areas included in the special planning zones of the regulation).
In addition, it will forbid rebuilding principle residences that had damages amounting to 50% of their municipal assessments or more. Residences sustaining less than 50% in damages can be repaired if a municipal permit is obtained. Public security inspectors will visit each of the affected homes and determine the percentage of the damage and whether the homes can be rebuilt (there may be exceptions).
In all cases, MAMOT, after receiving reports from evaluators and Public Security, will decide the amount of compensation given to home owners for flood damages.
Public input
Those in the audience, many from Quyon and Luskville, made comments
on the new regulation.  One citizen remarked that measures do not include damages to access roads, drinking water supplies, or septic systems, which can be significant.
Others said poor advertising of the event was the reason for low attendance.
Éric Rochon, Mansfield Director General, stressed that official water-level maps are out-dated and often unrealistic, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to apply preventative measures in floodplains.
At the end of the meeting, Bellemare said public comments will be taken into account when preparing the regulation.