• James Armstrong

Quebec moratorium on flood plain building permits affects Hudson development


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

The province-wide development moratorium on the zero to 20-year flood zone following the region’s second record-breaking flood within a two-year period will have an effect on the proposed – and contentious – residential project at Hudson’s Sandy Beach.

The province-wide moratorium issued by the Quebec government on Monday, June 17 does have an effect on the Town of Hudson according to Director General Philip Toone.

“It affects many properties north of Main Road and roughly one third of the development project in the Sandy Beach area,” he said following the information meeting for flood victims held on Monday, June 17 at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre. It’s a special intervention affecting the zero to 20-year flood zone plus areas flooded in 2017 and 2019. The moratorium on permits for new construction will be in place until the end of 2019.

The last proposed development in 2017 of the Sandy Beach area included a residential project consisting of 256 living units. Subsequent revision of the plan included two new servitudes providing public access to the beach.

“Building has been suspended until the government has decided further action,” said Toone. In the interim, the Quebec government would be holding public consultations and municipalities and developers would be voicing their concerns. He noted the decree also affects buildings that have lost 50 per cent or more of their value. Rebuilding them would not be allowed.

“There is one exception in the decree: Sainte-Marthe-Sur-Le-Lac,” said Toone of the region where flood waters are normally contained by a dike.

Financial aid program for flood victims

Representatives from the Ministry of Public Security presented the provincial government financial aid program for flood victims in English. It was the same program given in French earlier in June in Rigaud. Titled the ‘General indemnity and Financial Assistance Program – Regarding Actual or Imminent Disasters – Flooding’ it was described as being more effective and efficient than the program developed in response to the 2017-flood event. It’s a last resort humanitarian assistance program to ensure citizens’ safety and a return to normal life. In some cases, damage to homes may be covered by private insurance but only to a certain point. Others may not have any insurance. The assistance program is there to help out in both cases.

There are limits and exemptions. Developing an indemnity scheme means there is a preset replacement value established for replacing many household items from refrigerators and stove to beds and nightstands. Detached garages, sheds, and other out-buildings are not covered and neither is damaged landscaping.

During the question period at the end of the presentation, a resident asked if the Quebec government had considered an inquest into the cause or causes of the flood events in 2017 and 2019. The presenter responded this was not the forum for that question.

Applications for financial assistance must be submitted before the end of July, 2019. Information and application forms are available online in English at www.securitepublique.gouv.qc.ca. Sub-categories are listed under the ‘Civil Protection’ heading on the site. Claim agents are also available by telephone at: 1-888-643-2433.

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