Pressured by opposition, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante promises to release flood maps
Lionel Perez says city administration's about-face shows maps could have been released sooner
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says she now wants new, state-of-the-art flood maps made public, two days after a CBC News report showed that municipalities, including Montreal, had the data but wouldn't release it yet because it was not complete.
"Selling land where we know there will be flooding, to me that's unacceptable," Plante said.
The maps, drawn up by experts at the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) over the past two years, will be presented to the CMM's executive committee for approval on May 16.
From there it will be decided how they will be disseminated to the public, but Plante said she wants that to happen soon.
Plante said municipalities can expect to be having tough debates over the next weeks and months after the updated information is released.
"People want to know if their land is safe, and if they should be asked to move out," she said.
As the province forges a plan on how to handle the threat of increased flooding annually, Plante said she hopes the new maps will be part of the equation.
Opposition leader Lionel Perez said it would have been beneficial for this information to be public sooner.
"The fact that they're doing an about-face of what they said a few days ago says that [the maps] could have been released," Perez said.
The new maps, which use data from 2014 and beyond, show not only the limits of the high-velocity (0 to 20 years) and low-velocity (20 to 100 years) flood plain zones, as previous maps did, but they also have colour-coded visualizations of just how high waters could be expected to rise in specific areas.
CBC News was told that communities along the MilleÎles and Des Prairies rivers have had their updated maps for some time, but because they haven't yet been formally adopted, rules for building permits and home construction are still based on outdated information.
This spring's historic flooding has hit more than 100 Quebec municipalities, damaging more than 7,000 homes.
With files from Simon Nakonechny