Province dictating rebuilding rules in flood zone, Gatineau councillors charge
Many Gatineau residents still waiting for damage assessments
Gatineau city councillors are urging the Quebec government to hold off on deciding whether to allow residents to repair or rebuild homes in areas prone to flooding.
During a council meeting Tuesday evening, several councillors pointed out many residents are still waiting for their official damage assessments from the province's Ministry of Public Security.
The province has already said residents whose homes are on 20-year floodplains, and whose repair costs exceed half of the home's value, won't be permitted to rebuild, with few exceptions.
The damage assessments are necessary to make those decisions, and council is asking the province to delay any decisions on rebuilding until all residents have received those estimates.
'We have the right to ask questions'
Several councillors said they felt the province is dictating how the rebuilding will proceed.
"I think we have the right to ask questions before being handed down a law, a rigid rule, that protects who knows who," said Marc Carrière, the councillor for Masson-Angers.
"I think we have something to say about the situation."
The MNA for Gatineau and minister responsible for the Outaouais region, Stéphanie Vallée, has said her government's decision is based on wanting the cost of the flooding damage to be absorbed by all Quebec taxpayers, and to limit flood damage in the future.
However Carrière said the government should consider the long-term political fallout from its decisions.
"If that's the position of the [governing] Liberal Party in the Outaouais, then they will have to live with the consequences," said Carrière.
With files from Nathalie Tremblay