An office created to better plan the development of flood-prone areas of the Ottawa River
Article published on 21 December 2020
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The Outaouais obtained one of the ten project offices created under the Land protection plan against floods of the Government of Quebec. The mission of this project office will be to better plan the development of flood zones throughout the western Ottawa River watershed, which has experienced its share of recurring flooding. The office has a budget of $ 89M to meet the goals and $ 350M to achieve the sustainable solutions. The budget will be used, among other things, to create a better portrait of the consequences of spring flooding and to define concrete “resilience and adaptation” measures.

This measure of the Governmental plan for the protection of the territory against floods, unveiled last April, will allow the government of Quebec to ensure consistency of interventions at the watershed scale while ensuring close coordination with the municipalities. Municipal committees will support the work of the project offices.

The mission of the project offices will be to determine the most suitable solutions for the territory, in order to prevent the devastating effects of floods. The preferred approach is that of planning land use planning interventions according to the watersheds of concern according to the data collected and projected. The Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) said it welcomes the establishment of project offices for the management of flood zones. “By announcing its intention to work with municipalities, the Quebec government recognizes the fundamental role of local governments in land use planning and avoids reinventing the wheel, by relying on the municipal expertise developed in this area in the last years. We cannot start from scratch when several municipalities are already apprehensive about possible flooding in the spring of 2021. The establishment of project offices for the management of flood zones allows us to look to the future with confidence. An approach based on the principle of risk management will allow the development and deployment of intervention plans adapted to the realities of each territory ”, declared the president of the UMQ and mayor of Sainte-Julie, Ms. Suzanne Roy .”I am very happy with this announcement for the residents of the Outaouais. The floods are unfortunately part of the history of our region. But over the years, the impact has intensified not only for those directly affected, but for our entire community. This natural phenomenon cannot adapt to our environment and our way of life. Rather, it is civil society and the various actors concerned by this recurring problem that must adapt to the situation by finding innovative and effective solutions. This is why we are working together to better ensure the safety of individuals and families as well as the protection of property "mentioned the MP for Gatineau, Robert Bussière

Highlights:

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) will set up a coordination unit which will ensure close collaboration between the project offices and the regional directorates of the MAMH.

This unit will deploy around twenty new support resources in the regions. This is in line with the Quebec government’s desire to establish new positions in the regions.

In addition to the resources made available to them by the MAMH, the project offices will be able to count on the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change and the Ministry of Public Security. Other government departments or agencies may also contribute to the work depending on the issues present in the territory.

In addition, a municipal committee will be created for each office. The mandate of this committee will be to position the interests of the municipal authorities affected by the work of the project offices, to advise them and to participate in certain decisions.

A Civil Society Table will also be set up. It will be made up of interested stakeholders, including watershed organizations, various economic and environmental actors as well as relevant interest groups.

· Citizens will be informed of the procedures and consulted for the development of the intervention plan and the implementation of privileged actions.

· An annual report on the progress of the work of the project offices will be posted on the MAMH website.

The territory covered by the priority watersheds represents 79 RCMs.

The Plan for the protection of the territory against flooding is available here.

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