Trois-Rivières – When the water recedes and the houses are cleaned, how many residents will want to hand over their keys to the government? Remember that Quebec could offer flooded citizens up to $ 200,000 to encourage them to relocate and demolish their homes. While some municipalities are in favor of the displaced moving, others are worried about the loss of income that a shoreline can save.
“People are tired. There are some who said to me: ” Mr [François] Legault’s project, we are ready to sign it, and we are going away ”. They are older people who have been here for 25, 30 years and are tired. We are here. In addition, their house would be difficult to sell. Flooded like that, she loses a lot of value. If they like the project, they said to me, ” Mr. Mayor, we are leaving Lake St. Pierre, ” says Yvon Deshaies, Mayor of Louiseville. Residents of all ages are fed up. “People say they want to go away. I met a mother this morning [Thursday] with her eight-month-old child who told me, “says the mayor.
He even calls on Prime Minister François Legault to create a pilot project in Louiseville to put in place measures to encourage the victims to move.
The latter is in favor of a relocation of residents if they are compensated to meet their expectations. “If there are people on Lake St. Pierre who want to leave and they are well compensated, I agree with that. What do you want to do? It’s for the safety of people. Money can not buy everything. If people are tired of living there and can not sell their home, I agree that they sign and go away. ”
Residents who move, the mayor of Maskinongé, Roger Michaud, knows. Hit by a flood in 2017, this municipality saw six of its residents leave after being compensated by the government. “At the municipal level, it’s a very bad thing. These are municipal taxes that are lost. Houses are more valuable on the waterfront than downtown, “says Michaud.
Five of these houses have already been demolished and a sixth is about to be demolished. “After, they return the land to the municipality for $ 1. What do you want us to do? The city can not tax itself. You lose the house plus the value of the land. I have over 100 houses in flood zone. If everyone leaves, it’s a nasty hole in the wallet. If there is a couple left, I have no choice but to offer the same services. The aqueduct goes everywhere. I can not cut it. My paths pass by there, I must open them the same way in winter. I have the same expenses. The Prime Minister should sit down with the mayors of the flood zones to discuss them, and not make policies between them, and then impose something. Let him sit down with us and ask us for our opinion,
Moreover, the Quebec Federation of Municipalities (FQM) intends to closely monitor the application of this measure. She looks forward to it as long as it only applies to citizens who are repeatedly and significantly affected by floods.
“It’s an additional tool. But you have to be careful because there are people who are flooded, but who have only a few inches of water. I do not think we have to move these people. It will be in some cases very, very extreme, depending on what one understands. It’s interesting because yes, there may be situations where it could be used, but we do not really see it in a general way, “explains Jacques Demers, president of the FQM.
The FQM is still unaware of the criteria chosen to determine the amount awarded. “Is it the evaluation of residences that is taken into account or the evaluation of the building and the land? In some places, it is the land that has a very high value, “notes Mr. Demers.
Many flood zone residents in the area are used to experiencing floods year after year. Their house is built accordingly and usually does not suffer damage. These residents are usually equipped with pumps, a generator and a boat. However, some houses near watercourses are likely to be more difficult to sell due to recurring floods and worries about global warming. “I have some houses for sale on the river, but no one wants to buy that with everything the government says. The elderly are taken with their house and they do not know what to do. If the government is offering $ 200,000, but your house is valued at $ 300,000, what are you doing? “Asks Michaud.
Rather than attend the move of their citizens, Municipalities prefer to find solutions to minimize the inconvenience associated with floods. “It is quite right that we undertake a much more serious reflection on this whole issue in the light of what is happening in each region. Now, between immunization measures in some places and moving to others, there is a line to draw. In this regard, we will certainly do our duty to be able to modulate the types of interventions and make a first baseline assessment, “explains Jean-Guy Dubois, Mayor of Bécancour.
The city of Bécancour has about 700 houses along the river. “They will not all go away, it’s obvious. There is a line to draw. We have all kinds of situations. We, that’s two floods in three years. It’s a lot twice in three years. Is it an accident of nature? Will it be repeated? The future will tell us. There is some for whom the damage is not major. If the road does not go, we will work on the road. There is no one size solution in there, “says Dubois.
“It makes us look at what we can do as a municipality. In some places, we could only upgrade paths, which would prevent water from reaching very large areas. Sometimes, these are not important increases that lead to completely protecting sectors. There are things you can do besides asking people to leave their homes, “says Demers.
The president of the FQM reminds that with current development plans, it is no longer possible to build in a flood. “What is being corrected is the past. Let’s try to do it the best we can. “