Gatineau flood zone gets OK to rebuild
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, 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-to-20-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.
There has been no information yet about whether newcomers will be allowed to build on sites where former owners moved out after the flood.