Special Planning Zone: The Government discharges its responsibility to correct its mistakes to municipalities
22 juillet 2019
Montréal, le 22 juillet 2019 - The Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro deplores and denounces the lack of communication and support by the Government of Québec in the processing of requests for revision of the Special Planning Zone (SPZ), since the unveiling of the new map put online on July 15, 2019. In addition, the Borough is surprised by the lack of supervision provided by the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Habitation (MAMH), while municipalities are the gateway to citizens' requests. The government shows that it has no sensitivity to the fact that the Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro has, by its riparian nature, one of the highest residential densities on the North Shore of the Island of Montreal, resulting in more requests for file reviews.
It should be recalled that on June 19, the government adopted a draft decree declaring a Special Planning Zone in order to promote, in its opinion, better management of floodplains. Since then, a first mapping of the SPZ has been presented.
On July 15, a new revised SPZ map was published by the government. At the same time, the government took the opportunity to divest itself of its responsibilities. By doing so, without even having been notified, municipalities are now mandated, without their consent, to collect and process citizens' requests.
"Once again, the government is sending the ball back to the municipalities without equipping us with the necessary means to respond to the demands and concerns of citizens. We learn the information at the same time as the public. Moreover, at no time was the Borough informed of its new role. The Government of Québec is once again demonstrating that it is working backwards, without consulting the municipalities that are the first to be affected," said Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor, Dimitrios (Jim) Beis.
Responsibility transferred to municipalities
Initially, when the first mapping was presented, the Government of Québec asked citizens to send their requests for review directly to the government so that they could be assessed and processed via the following address: email@example.com
However, without even consulting or notifying Quebec municipalities, the government has chosen to modify its procedures and direct citizens with requests directly to their municipality. Thus, since the decree of July 15, the Government of Québec has specified that if inaccuracies in the delimitation of the territory flooded during the spring floods of 2017 and 2019 remain, municipalities could submit requests to the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Habitation (MAMH) until August 19, 2019, using the form available on the Ministry's website and that citizens must contact their municipality to this effect.
No resources and no means
Faced with the facts, the Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro receives a significant volume of calls, emails and visits from residents who wish to have their homes removed from the SPZ.
Although the Administration and the Borough employees wish to help residents, they do not have the data and human resources to carry out the necessary research to verify the accuracy of the information provided. It should be noted that the government gives full responsibility to municipalities' Administration to certify whether or not an address has actually been flooded, which goes beyond the expertise and mandate of the Borough.
We require open, transparent and consistent communication from the government with municipalities to be able to provide concrete assistance to citizens who find themselves in the middle of this endless administrative storm.
Awaiting further instructions
For the time being, the Borough is collecting information from residents who wish to be removed from the map. The Borough Mayor is asking the Government of Québec to provide the necessary resources on site in the Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, in order to respond adequately and promptly to requests to process citizens' files.