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Quebec Liberals calling for parliamentary commission on flood zones to protect homeowners

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The Quebec Liberal Party is worried about what's happening to homes in flood zones and is calling for a parliamentary commission as more people are being affected by flooding.

In light of climate change and the major flooding the province saw in 2017 and 2019, Quebec is now working on redrawing its flood zone maps.

The Liberals say flood zones will inevitably be enlarged and that could end up affecting thousands of properties.

Liberal MNAs Michelle Setlakwe and Virginie Dufour are calling for a parliamentary commission to study the issue to make sure the process is transparent and to ensure there will be help for affected homeowners.

Desjardins Group recently decided to stop offering mortgages in some flood zones.

Setlakwe says she'd like to hear from various ministers involved, including environment, public security and municipal affairs, as well as from experts including banks and insurers.

"We want to make sure the process takes into consideration the realities on the ground. Some mayors are also very concerned for citizens and for the impact on the revenues coming in," said the Liberal MNA for Mont-Royal-Outremont.

"When you think about it, your home represents such an important part of your patrimony, all your savings and to find yourself in a situation where you can't contract a mortgage loan, you can't make changes, you can't sell, it's terrible."

CTV News also spoke to Erkan Yonder, an associate professor at the John Molson School of Business, who studies the effects of climate change on the real estate market. He says he supports the idea of a parliamentary commission because the risk and frequency of flooding and other natural disasters, such as wildfires, are only growing and many people could end up with homes with zero value.

"So these entities should come together and the governments should discuss with the lenders and insurance companies as well and they try to find ways to spread," he said. "If you leave it as it is then all of the burden will be on the homeowners in these risky locations."

The Quebec environment minister's office isn't saying if it will hold a parliamentary commission, but said there would be sufficient time between the adoption of the new flood maps and any new regulations coming into force, adding that there will also be a consultation period.

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