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West_island_news
Flood map forum draws jeers from West Islanders

There was a recurring theme at last Thursday night’s over capacity public consultation on the government’s proposed special planning zone (SPZ) decree concerning new flood zones. During the Question and Answer portion of the public forum, many residents from all over the West Island took to the microphone to note that their homes, currently in flood zones as per the new flood mapping, had never been hit by either the 2017 or May flooding or any other for that matter.

One Sainte Anne-deBellevue resident quipped that in order for his home to qualify as being in the proposed flood zone, “the Arctic would have to melt.”This was followed by some laughter and a round of applause but it was Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis’ turn at the microphone that brought the house down.

Beis noted that while the new maps are being drawn, municipalities now have three different maps to refer to which is causing “too much confusion.” He also blasted the current government as he has seen “no initiative by the government that will help the citizens and municipalities build the proper infrastructure to prevent this from happening again.

“You used the 2019 flooding as the basis of your maps where we had 50 to 60 homes flooded compared to 850 homes in 2017,” Beis told the bureaucrats at the dias who looked like they wanted to be anywhere other than in the overheated and crowded space. The event was so well attended that police were called in to manage the overflow as many potential attendees had to listen in the hallway.

Beis spoke about his borough’s hard work to protect homes from flooding and instead of creating arbitrary maps, “ we can work to protect our own homes but there needs to be political will.”The Pierrefonds-Roxboro mayor also chided the panelists for presenting the entire session in French only and when one of the bureaucrats noted that it was because of Bill 101, the crowd erupted in raucous jeers that brought the proceedings to a standstill for a few moments.

Some positive news for concerned residents came when the city of Dorval released a press statement the day after the heated meeting noting that “in response to pressure exerted by the City of Dorval and other municipalities in relation to the inaccuracies of the maps representing the flooded territories, the Quebec government has decided to review these maps of affected flood zones in 2017 and 2019.”

Dorval was one of the first cities to denounce the new SPZ and was quickly followed by Vaudreuil-Dorion, Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue, Beaconsfield and others. “This correction is currently being undertaken so that the map more accurately reflects the reality of Dorval and other territories. The corrected version will be made public when the Quebec government releases the decree concerning the special planning zone (SPZ),” noted the Dorval release.

The city of Dorval praised its residents and other West Islanders for attending the public forum because “your comments are in part responsible for this positive about-face.”

Prior to the beginning of the assembly, attendees were given a short memo noting that properties not located in a zero to 20 year floodplain and that were not affected by floods in 2017 and 2019 will not be subjected to the SPZ.The SPZ places a moratorium on any property owner found within the new flood zoning from renovating or rebuilding which as Beis told the crowd, “property values could go down while insurance costs go way up.”

Any home in the area that has been flooded with fifty percent damage or more would be forbidden from rebuilding. Homeowners who find themselves wrongly associated in the new flood zone are encouraged to voice their concerns via email at zis2019@mamh.gouv.qc.ca and comments can be left until August 19th.

The government plans to release its decree in mid July.


Courtesy of On Rock 

Last week, On Rock ministries asked for help as the NGO put out a plea on social media. “It’s that time of the year when our shelves are bare and we are in desperate need of the following items,” wrote Executive Director Kim Reid on Facebook.


News
Court denies EMSB injunction to stop school transfers

Québec Superior Court refused to grant the injunction requested by the EMSB that would have blocked CAQ Education Minister Jean-François Roberge’s plan to transfer two of the EMSB’s schools over to the borough’s local French-speaking Pointe de L’Isle (CSPI) school board. As mentioned in a previous Suburban report, Roberge insisted that “...under the Education Act, we are legally required to provide every child with an education, whether they are English speaking or Francophone.”

While Madame Justice Dominique Poulin agreed that the EMSB’s motion satisfied at least two of the four points that define the urgent need for a court-ordered injunction, she ultimately decided to refuse the EMSB’s request because its students can go to other EMSB schools as opposed to the CSPI’s 3000 students who have no classrooms, no desks and nowhere to go during the next school year.

“While the court found that the EMSB raised a serious question based on section 23 of the Canadian Charter, and was satisfied that the EMSB would suffer serious harm if the stay was not granted , it ultimately found that the balance of inconvenience weighed in favor of the CSPI,” wrote the EMSB in its statement following the ruling.

While the EMSB’s primary school students will be sent to its French-speaking Pierre De Coubertin school, its high school students will be sent to Saint Leonard’s Laurier-MacDonald High School. Ironically, while Justice Poulin’s decision will provide up to 38 new classrooms for the CSPI’s students, the local school board still requires another 80 classrooms in order to provide all the space it needs for its growing numbers of students

While the Québec Education Ministry welcomes the decision, the minister also said that “...c’est triste, mais voila!”

Roughly translated, that means “…it’s sad, but that’s it!”


Anthony / Photo: The Tonight Show / YouTube 

The Canadian comic believes the show could be a safe space to reveal – or rehash – some of her more unsavoury jokes.


Anthony / Photo: Sean Farrell / The Suburban 

Trees set back from the beach offer natural opportunities to find shade at the Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park.


Photo: Espace Pour La Vie 

The Rio Tinto Planetarium’s summer schedule is full of fun and exciting activities the whole family will enjoy.


Rob Taussig The Suburban 

“The hardest thing today was the heat, so we needed to keep the changes going and it’s tough times because everybody is on vacation,” MRO head coach Hagop Bayramian said.