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Flood zones: bad news awaits local residents in 2024

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan15,2024

The mapping of flood zones will be updated from autumn 2024, which risks leading to a series of bad news, such as the ;inability in certain cases to insure one's property.

Flood zones: bad news awaits local residents in 2024

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Quebec has faced several major floods since 2017, forcing the province to review its prevention strategy. (Archive photo)

  • David Rémillard (View profile)David Rémillard

The year 2024 will be synonymous with bad news for waterfront property owners in Quebec. The government is preparing to unveil its new regulations governing permitted (or not) uses on land located in flood zones.

This normative framework will be presented in the spring, confirms the Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks.

It is expected that the draft permanent regulation governing land use planning in flood-prone areas will be pre-published in spring 2024. The official consultation period will last 45 days while the adoption of the regulation must take place in the spring of 2024. fall 2024, indicates the Ministry, at the request of Radio-Canada. The exact date of this big unveiling is not yet known.

The adoption of the regulatory framework will then allow the government to gradually present the new flood zone maps from the end of the year, we add.

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Covering the territories where 85% of the province's population lives, these maps are the result of work begun after the major floods that occurred in Quebec in 2017 and 2019. Eight mandataries, including the metropolitan communities of Montreal and Quebec, were tasked with collecting data and producing new maps, the final versions of which will be developed by the Ministry.

LoadingGender marker -rosso600 dark:group-hover-focus:text-rosso300 !font-display text-4 leading-5 font-bold”>Gender marker X: the government prevents the SAAQ from adapting driving licensesELSEWHERE ON NEWS: Sex marker as in Baie-Saint-Paul in spring 2023, will also be taken into account in determining flood zones.

These maps will subsequently have an influence on the development plans of cities and MRCs as well as on the uses permitted or not in sectors deemed vulnerable. To facilitate the transition, Quebec has created ten regional project offices to ensure support for local communities.

Pascale Biron, hydrogeomorphologist and professor at Concordia University, recalls that the changes made by the government are major.

First, the use of 0-20 year and 0-100 year flood ratings will be abandoned in favor of a scale using risk levels such as low, moderate or high.

Rather poorly understood, according to Ms. Biron, the flood rating system suggests, wrongly, that a flood could only occur x27;once every 20 years or every 100 years. However, the risk returns each year, set at 1% for zones 0-100 years and 5% for zones 0-20 years.

Using the new scale will better reflect the real risk and the level of dangerousness of each watercourse, explains Ms. Biron. The great novelty of the methodology is to combine frequency and depth to determine risk levels.

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Water depth will be a major variable in the new flood zone maps from the Quebec government. (File photo)

The depth, namely the level that the water can reach in a given sector depending on the topography, has a major importance in the development of the new maps.

For the same watercourse and the same potential frequency of reaching the major flood threshold, unique to each watercourse and fixed by measuring the flow in cubic meters per second, the risks will not necessarily be the same depending on the projected depth depending on the relief and infrastructure (houses, roads, etc.).

Anticipated overflows of a few centimeters in one place or a meter in another will not be treated in the same way. You can be in a sector that has the same probability of being flooded every year and not be in the same risk zone, specifies Pascale Biron.

Shaken by repeated disasters in recent years, Quebec had already indicated its intention to remove the population from flood plains rather than encouraging their maintenance with compensation programs.

Through this change in philosophy, Quebec wishes to promote more resilient land use planning, and thus ensure better protection of people, property and environment in general.

The normative framework and flood zone maps could therefore be difficult to swallow for many local owners. While some are suspicious of their fate after being recently flooded or subject to the special intervention zone in force after the 2017 and 2019 floods, others may not see the blow coming.

Depending on the region, several municipalities relied on old maps or maps with imprecise contours, or even no maps at all. There was also no common methodology for creating them, unlike the new, standardized cards.

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Debris was left by the waters on the grounds of the residences of Enchantress Island.

Several neighboring owners could thus find themselves in a flood zone overnight, or in an area more risky than anticipated (and vice versa). versa).

There will be a lot of bad news, predicts Marc Fafard, first vice-president of the Regroupement d'organisms de bassins versants du Québec (ROBVQ). According to him, the pressure on owners will come from insurance companies, which risk no longer offering coverage to their customers.

Lack of access to insurance will mean that people will be forced to move.

A quote from Marc Fafard, first vice-president at ROBVQ

Mr. Fafard also believes that some municipalities might grumble since the most beautiful land is often located near waterways. The new flood zone maps and the government's change in philosophy in land use planning could therefore deprive them of tax revenue.

For many, it risks being poorly received, also agrees the hydrogeomorphologist Pascale Biron, who speaks of an emotional exercise for the population which will be affected.

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Downtown Beauceville was flooded by the flooding of the Chaudière River in 2019. (Archive photo)

This was also the case during the presentation of the special intervention zone, in 2019. The presentation by the Quebec government shocked several residents of Beauceville, the Montreal region and Outaouais.

The exercise of relocation will not be simple either, notes Ms. Biron, particularly in more urbanized regions where space and lands are becoming rarer.

The seriousness of the measures to be taken requires a clear and coherent communication plan from the government, believes Pascale Biron. The latter deplores in passing the delays accumulated by Quebec in the development of the maps, which were initially supposed to come into force in 2023.

In n& #x27;adopting its maps that towards the end of 2024, the government has fallen at least a year behind its schedule provided for in the Territorial Protection Plan against Floods.

These delays have caused certain pitfalls that Quebec will have to avoid, according to the expert. Private sector mapping initiatives have notably become attractive to certain municipalities eager to act.

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Pascale Biron, hydrogeomorphologist and professor at Concordia University. (Archive photo)

Ms. Biron fears that there will be confusion between government maps and those from private. In a context where it will undoubtedly be quite difficult to announce to citizens that they are now in a flood risk zone, this is the kind of confusion that will arise. should be avoided.

Bernard Motulsky, professor in the Department of Public and Social Communication at the University of Quebec in Montreal, agrees. When we touch the place where you live, we come to look for you in what is most precious to you, he emphasizes. Hence the importance of providing the most clear and transparent explanations possible.

We arrive overnight, and we announce to people that we have made a decision and we have not discussed it with them.

A quote from Bernard Motulsky, professor of public and social communication at UQAM

For him, the government's efforts should be put on the path which made it possible to arrive at the flood maps, and not on the maps themselves. People will focus on the conclusion. The only way I see is to explain how we arrive at this conclusion.

Scientific popularization will be x27;of capital importance, he believes, especially, he adds, as climate change represents a sensitive subject for some.

Time will help the pill pass, he says, but it doesn't happen by snapping your fingers.

  • David Rémillard (View profile)< source srcset=",w_160/v1/personnalites-rc/1x1/david-remillard-journaliste.png" media="(min-width: 0px) and (max- width: 1023px)">David RémillardFollow
Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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