City council votes against plan to develop floodplain area

Officials are concerned development could create further flood risks in the future

City council votes against plan to develop floodplain area

Risk Management News

By Lyle Adriano

The city council of Gatineau has voted down a proposal to develop a flood zone-designated area that was severely affected by the flooding last May 2017.

Normand Poirier, who owns the plot at 1415 rue Saint-Louis, requested the council change the area’s flood zoning so that he could move his dealership there, as well as build other commercial establishments on the site.

On December 12, councillors voted down the proposal. Fourteen (14) were against it and four were in favour.

Pointe Gatineau councillor Myriam Nadeau told CBC in an earlier statement that building on the land would create risks in the future. She also explained that the land included in the proposal acts as a natural “sponge” that soaks up water during heavy rains.

“If we asphalt this piece of land ... the water right now being absorbed by this land will no longer be absorbed by it, and therefore will find its way somewhere else, and somewhere else will be neighbouring areas,” Nadeau explained.

The contested plot of land actually carries two floodplain designations – one side is expected to experience a flood every 20 years, while the other only once in a century.

In some cases, it is possible to receive approval to build on land in the 100-year category, Nadeau said.

Related stories:
City awaits exemption for reconstruction ban on “high velocity” flood zones
Canada sustains “hundreds of millions” of dollars in damages following May storms

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