The municipality of St-André-d’Argenteuil has compiled what it calls a “balance sheet” summary on the serious flooding that affected Rivière du Nord and the Ottawa River this spring.

This spring, 245 homes in the municipality were affected over a six-week period.  In 2017, 247 were flooded.

The areas most seriously affected were Terrasse Robillard, Carillon Bay, Fournier, and other areas along Rivière du Nord.

Several residents had not yet completed renovations on their homes that were flooded in 2017, only to have the water return this year.

The municipality is beginning a process of new land use planning and consideration of how flood-prone areas are developed.

“In 2019, we must revisit our relationship to water to better coexist with this precious resource. In St-André Argenteuil, we believe that there is a way to make a big project, at little cost, with a lot of positive spin-offs for the community, “said Mayor Marc-Olivier Labelle.

On June 11, the mayor convened a meeting with experts on flooding and sustainable land use. The goal was to discuss the realities faced by residents and the municipality, as well as to identify potential solutions in the short, medium and long term.

The experts included Pascale Biron a hydro geomorphologist, titular professor and Director of the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University, and Isabelle Thomas, a Professor in the Faculty of Planning – School of urban planning and landscape architecture of the Université de Montréal, and professionals from the MRC d’Argenteuil and the municipality.

On June 17, Québec Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change Benoît Charette, jointly announced the forthcoming adoption of draft decree No 24A concerning the declaration of a special intervention area in order to promote better management of the flood zones and place restrictions on development in certain areas.

This decree would place a temporary moratorium on construction and reconstruction in the 0-20-year flood zone, until a new land-use framework is developed.

Municipalities will ensure that issues specific to their territory are considered in the process.

Mayor Labelle will present to the Québec government in the coming weeks, a pilot project on adaptation and resilience to floods that would allow the victims to relocate outside the flood zones, while limiting possible financial impacts as much as possible.

The pilot project will present a sustainable solution to better protect citizens in case of potential recurrence flooding.

St-André-d’Argenteuil will ask the Government of Québec for permission to implement the pilot project.