Gatineau requests Quebec to exempt rules to allow reconstruction in flood zones

Published: November 3, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The city of Gatineau wants the province of Quebec to make an exception to stop reconstruction in areas designated at high risk from flooding. The city wants provincial legislation to be relaxed to prevent allow reconstruction in flood-risk areas.

Construction in Canada remains a problem as flood risk areas continue to be used. The results of poor planning can be catastrophic when a storm hits. For homeowners, it means potential losses as flood protection and home insurance are different things. The latter will not cover you and the former is only starting to be common and has numerous caveats.

Under current Quebec law, areas at risk of flooding within the next 20 years are considered “high velocity” zones and new buildings cannot be constructed in these areas.

“It is not possible to build a new building or to rebuild a demolished building in the … high-velocity zones, according to the protection policy environment quality act adopted by the government of Quebec,” Gatineau spokeswoman Hélène Lachance said.

In October, Gatineau asked the provincial government to exempt the demolition of flooded properties. This can theoretically happen if the demolition will depopulate entire neightbourhoods.

“We are in the process of waiting to hear back,” Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said.

Ottawa Citizen reports the city wants to reconstruct the Pointe-Gatineau and Lac-Beauchamp districts if it is granted the exemption. The Quebec government is likely to give the city an answer before the end of November.

So far, Gatineau has spent over $4 million in flood-related costs, mainly on short-term repairs and measures to prevent further flooding. If the two districts are reconstructed, they will remain in a designated high-velocity zone.