Quebec issues moratorium forbidding construction in high-risk flood zones

Those looking to rebuild after this year’s devastating spring floods may be out of luck.

The Quebec government announced Monday it was forbidding new constructions in high-risk flood plains and would not allow homeowners whose properties were flooded to rebuild if damage exceeded 50 per cent of the total value.

High-risk floodplains include mapped areas that fall in the zero- to 20-year flood zone, or an area has a one in 20 chance of being flooded every year.

The government is also forbidding building areas that were affected by spring flooding in 2017 and 2019.

The moratorium applies to 813 municipalities, 312 of which were flooded either in 2017 or 2019.

It does not, however, apply to residents of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, where a dike breached on April 27, flooding one-third of the town.

In a press release, the government said the situation in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac was particular and required the implementation of different solutions.

The dike will be rebuilt, as previously announced, and residents will be allowed to rebuild, even if their home has lost more than half its value.

But no new constructions will be allowed on vacant land.

In 2019, severe spring flooding struck 250 municipalities in Quebec, forcing 10,000 people from their homes.

Flood victims can apply for financial aid through the new compensation program announced in April. Under the plan, homeowners who live in flood zones are also being offered up to $200,000 in compensation to move.

Those who can rebuild will have the right to claim up to $100,000 in repairs.

The government says the moratorium will remain in place until it can review its regulations.

The goal is to better manage flood zones to avert future flooding.

— With files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez and Kalina Laframboise

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