Quebec withdraws 30 municipalities from contested flood zone maps
The provincial government has retracted 30 municipalities from the Special Intervention Flood Zones weeks after the CAQ designated faulty maps of municipal flood zones. This means 20,000 homes are no longer pegged as in the danger zone.
This update comes after 25 public consultations were held in 16 regions across Quebec. More than 5,600 people participated, and there has been a lot of frustration.
In June, the government released a new map imposing a moratorium on construction or reconstruction, in what it's calling a "special intervention zone" (or ZIS). That map for that wide-ranging zone was created based on aerial photography and satellite images, and was meant to identify areas that had been flooded in 2017 and 2019.
They also identify large areas of residential property as being potentially at risk, which have implications on property values, insurance and rebuilding plans in those zones.
The maps ultimately determine who can rebuild after being damaged by a flood – even if, in some cases, those areas had never experienced a flood.
The government has since recognized the imprecisions of the maps. During a technical briefing on a conference call Monday, the Ministry for Municipal Affairs and Housing announced the changes, explaining the map was "adjusted to better reflect reality."
In the now 783 municipalities in official special intervention flood zones, there is a moratorium on the construction of new buildings for all of the zones which have been flooded in the past 20 years.
The floods of this spring affected 250 Quebec municipalities and forced more than 10,000 people to evacuate from their homes.
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Andrée Laforest says she believes these changes will reassure municipalities and residents.
And there's still time to make more changes; the government is giving municipalities until Aug. 19 to contest their inclusion on the map by filling out a form on the ministry's website.
See the new map here:
See the old map here (be patient, it can be slow to load):