Que­bec to al­low re­build­ing in flood zone

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - TOM SPEARS ts­pears@post­media.com

Que­bec will al­low Gatineau res­i­dents in the most flood-prone part of the city to re­build their homes, an area deemed likely to flood on av­er­age ev­ery 20 years or less.

This ex­emp­tion over­rides a rule that called for de­mo­li­tion, and no re­build­ing, of all homes in this zone that have been de­clared a “to­tal loss.”

In June, the prov­ince had ruled against re­build­ing be­cause these sites are too likely to flood again.

The de­ci­sion ap­plies to homes in the ar­eas of Jac­ques-Cartier, Moreau and Riviera streets, and Hur­tubise Boule­vard.

Some of these are near the Gatineau River, and oth­ers are be­side the Ot­tawa River in the area of Ket­tle Is­land.

There will be some re­stric­tions. For in­stance, all doors and win­dows,

There have been peo­ple liv­ing there for two cen­turies.

as well as the level of the first floor, must be above the level of a once-in-a-cen­tury flood. There can be no liv­ing space in the base­ment.

As well, the new mea­sure ap­plies only to homes that have not yet been de­mol­ished.

The his­toric flood­ing in May forced the evac­u­a­tion of 541 homes in Gatineau, and more than 1,100 peo­ple.

As of Oct. 31, 110 de­mo­li­tion per­mits had been is­sued for houses too badly dam­aged to re­build, though not all of these are in the zero-to20-year flood zone, the area most likely to flood.

There have also been 232 per­mits for ren­o­va­tions to dam­aged homes.

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Ped­neaud-Jobin was en­thu­si­as­tic about the de­ci­sion, say­ing it’s im­por­tant to pre­serve a long-stand­ing com­mu­nity.

“It wasn’t a planning mis­take. There have been peo­ple liv­ing there for two cen­turies,” the mayor told a news con­fer­ence Mon­day.

A state­ment from Marc Car­rière, the provin­cial mem­ber for Chap­leau, said he’s happy be­cause “this col­lec­tive ex­emp­tion will al­low many (res­i­dents) to con­tinue to live in their liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment, avoid­ing the de­struc­tion and de­cay of two ma­jor sec­tors of our city.”

In re­cent decades there has been a trend to­ward ban­ning con­struc­tion in flood zones, but many homes were built in low-ly­ing ar­eas be­fore these rules went into ef­fect.

There has been no in­for­ma­tion yet about whether new­com­ers will be al­lowed to build on sites where for­mer own­ers moved out af­ter the flood.

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