Vaudreuil-Dorion asks province to change city’s flood zones designation
By John Jantak
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK
Using lessons they learned in the 2017 flood, the Ville de Vaudreuil-Dorion was able to stave off encroaching flood waters onto Saint-Charles Avenue in 2019 and are requesting a change in flood zoning status from the province.
Vaudreuil-Dorion has submitted a request to the Quebec government to remove portions of the city’s flood zones from the province’s exclusion zones, it was announced at the Monday evening council meeting on November 16.
The city made the request to the province after a provincial parliamentary commission was held in which Article 93 was adopted as part of its overall flood zone designation plan that prohibits the reconstruction of damaged houses or the construction of new houses within specifically designated flood zones.
Mayor Guy Pilon said the current flood zone designation as it now stands would impact the educational campuses of the Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs, three seniors’ residences, and the city’s water treatment and sewage plants which are located close to Saint-Charles Avenue near Vaudreuil Bay.
It would also affect about 200 houses in Vieux-Dorion and Vieux-Vaudreuil that are located next to, or close to, the bay.
“This means if you are in a high risk zone you cannot build,” Pilon told The Journal. “According to the way the bill is worded it states that in order to minimize the flood risk, people will have to leave flood prone areas. People who live in a flood zone will not be able to rebuild or get a mortgage.”
A better solution would be to build a retaining wall along a portion of Vaudreuil Bay that would prevent the water inundation that occurred during the unanticipated flooding in 2017 and 2019, said the mayor.
Two recent floods
During the first flood in the spring of 2017, flood waters covered a large portion of Saint-Charles which resulted in the roadway being closed in both directions and crept close to the nearby educational facilities. It was an unanticipated event that also affected several residential side streets next to the bay.
Two years later in 2019, the city faced the same problems when flood water began spilling over the banks of the bay a second time and began slowing edging towards Saint-Charles. This time the city was able to take a more proactive approach from the lessons it learned from the first flood.
Concrete barriers lined with plastic tarp and reinforced with sandbags were built along the roadway which prevented flood waters from inundating the street and on several side streets next to the bay. “This means that everybody who lives near this zone were okay, they were protected,” said Pilon.
Request to change wording
The city has been working with the Communauté Métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) to try to get the provincial government to change the wording in Article 93 so that it won’t have a negative impact on Vaudreuil-Dorion. “Right now we’re asking for a permanent wall to be built,” said Pilon. “We have the plans and everything.”
Under the current wording in Article 93, the province would revert back to flood maps dating back 350 years, according to Pilon. “This means all the zones that have been flooded, whether it was two inches or two metres will be considered part of the flood zone. It will have a major impact on us and it would kill the heart of Vaudreuil-Dorion.”