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Environment

Quebec officials urge caution after flood-caused sinkhole claims woman’s life

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MONTREAL — Quebec’s deputy premier and public safety minister is urging those affected by flooding to exercise extreme caution and vigilance as rising water levels continue to wreak havoc on the province.

“Do not take unnecessary risks, please,” Genevieve Guilbault said at the Ti-Oui Snack Bar in Saint-Raymond on Saturday.

Regional liaison officers for the Canadian Armed Forces are deployed in five districts and prepared to assist residents, she said: Outaouais; Montreal, Laurentians and Lanaudiere; Monteregie and Estrie; Quebec City; and Chaudiere-Appallaches.

Tragedy struck early Saturday morning when a woman in her 70s died after driving her car into a massive sinkhole caused by flooding in western Quebec, police said.

The accident left the woman’s sedan upside down in a swollen stream after rising river levels swept away part of the road in the Outaouais region overnight.

Sgt. Martin Fournel of the MRC des Collines police said witnesses parked near the washout tried unsuccessfully to warn the driver as she approached.

“That lady, who was driving by herself on that road, fell into a sinkhole basically because of the flooding. There was a culvert that was not there anymore, so the road was cut in half and she was not able to brake and avoid the accident,” Fournel told The Canadian Press.

The woman was taken to hospital but pronounced dead soon after, he said.

The accident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. in the Municipality of Pontiac, about 30 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.

Pontiac, which sits along the Ottawa River, is one of at least three municipalities in the Outaouais region to declare states of emergency, along with Saint-Andre-Avellin and Val-des-Monts. The city of Trois-Rivieres is also under a state of emergency.

In Beauceville, about 90 kilometres south of Quebec City, officials have asked the Canadian Armed Forces for assistance, with military vehicles en route to help with evacuations ordered by the municipality.

Earlier this week, the Chaudiere River burst its banks and flooded a large part of downtown. Officials called it the worst flooding since 1971, with 230 homes and businesses flooded.

In Saint-Raymond, about 60 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital, 24 seniors in three residences have been moved to higher ground as the Ste-Anne River continues to rise.

A local dam gave way Saturday, said Mayor Daniel Dion, prompting concerns about flooding.

“The problem today is that there is a lot of ice. If they clog our channels the water will have no space to circulate and that’s where it overflows,” he said.

Dion said he expects the high-water mark to come Sunday evening.

Four major floods have already been identified by Urgence Quebec: the Chaudiere River in Saint-Georges; Saint-Joseph and Vallee-Jonction in Beauce; and Deux-Montagnes Lake in Rigaud.

As of noon Saturday, there were 72 flooded residences, 53 isolated residences and 197 evacuees across the province, according to the most recent Urgence Quebec bulletin.

The most affected areas are Beauce — south of Quebec City — and Rigaud, west of the Island of Montreal.

Provincial police are checking up on residents door to door in Beauceville and Rigaud, where the Surete du Quebec (SQ) have set up command posts, said Sgt. Marie-Michele Moore.

About 40 millimetres of rain have fallen on the Montreal area since Thursday, with five to 10 millimetres more expected Saturday, according to Environment Canada. Rainfall warnings have been lifted, but water levels were already high and were expected to rise sharply with warm temperatures and snowmelt runoff.

Guilbault has said the province will also allow stores — usually closed on Easter Sunday — to remain open this weekend so residents can stock up on supplies.

Thomas Blanchet, a spokesman for the province’s public safety department, said residents should be ready for a sharp spike in water levels that could come quickly, and he implored them to follow the instructions of local officials.

In Laval, just north of Montreal, officials said some 1,500 homes and businesses were under flood watch. In Montreal, Mayor Valerie Plante toured various parts of the city under flood watch.

Plante said the boroughs were well prepared, having learned lessons from record floods two years ago.

“We’re putting in all our energy, but in the end Mother Nature decides,” Plante said.

In a statement, the City of Laval said it had distributed sandbags to 900 homes and knocked on 550 doors to make sure people were safe, as concern rises along with water levels in the Thousand Islands and Prairies rivers.

Quebec City and the Gaspe Peninsula can expect up to 30 millimetres of rainfall this weekend, said Environment Canada meteorologist Andre Cantin.

“That will help the snow to melt again, and we do not expect the river will be able to go down for at least 48 hours,” he said Saturday morning.

The Canadian Press



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City of Red Deer

Environmental Master Plan steers Red Deer’s sustainable future

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From The City of Red Deer

City Council adopted an updated version of the Environmental Master Plan, a document which will guide Red Deer’s environmental strategy now and into the future.

The Environmental Master Plan (EMP) was originally released in 2011 and serves as a guide to improve environmental sustainability in Red Deer by setting goals and providing short-, medium- and long-term strategies. The EMP is designed to provide The City and the people of Red Deer with a road map to improved environmental performance. The updated plan outlines clear goals and measurable targets, as well as suggested actions for The City to undertake during implementation.

“The EMP refresh is a higher-level document that was designed to provide a foundation for strategic decision making in the future. We focused on six areas: air, ecology, energy, waste, water and community design, which combined transportation and built environment from the previous plan,” said Nancy Hackett, Environmental Initiatives Supervisor, “Each of the sixareas have specific targets and metrics, but we refined the plan to 20 actions that providebroader direction.”

A variety of public engagement sessions provided key community insight that was used to assess current conditions and determine future focuses and goals for the plan. In addition to sessions with targeted community groups, a Community Engagement Group took part in monthly, in-depth sessions to discuss Red Deer’s focus areas, targets and actions for the future.

Now that the plan has been adopted, City Staff will begin implementation to ensure Red Deercontinues on its’ path of reducing its environmental footprint.

A full version of the EMP is available on the City’s website at reddeer.ca/EMP.

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City of Red Deer

Goulet-Jones says City’s new Environmental Master Plan means higher taxes and an assault on energy sector

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This opinion piece was submitted by Calvin Goblet-Jones

City Council Unanimously Rejects reason by approving a severely flawed Environmental Master Plan.

I honestly can not believe every councillor voted in favour of this document, I am severely disappointed in our Council Today.
Make no mistake, this document deserves to be put through the shredder.  There are a few good elements of the $150,000 document such as strengthening our inner city forests however the document is nothing more than a glimpse into a future of higher taxes, bans and a continued assault on our energy sector by a council who says they support energy.
Of course the document is full of buzzwords and flowery language but this document rejects the benefits of our local energy sector.  Instead of looking towards cheap natural gas as an energy source they look to failed renewable energy projects that you and I will pay heavily for.  The Document wants to limit Red Deers energy consumption, wants to limit your personal fuel consumption, and wants to ban ban ban.  The document wants to ban wood fires, wants to heavily regulate vehicles, and wants to shift all the vehicles the city owns to be electric which will cost taxpayers heavily.
Quickly, take a look at Action 20, they don’t mention a ban outright but they mention open air burning, wood burning and vehicles as part of their “action plan” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to interpret what they mean.

Look at Focus Area 1.2.2.3 where they want to limit consumer energy consumption and how they reject our local cheap, economy supporting fossil fuels.

Shame on Council for Unanimously approving this document.
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july, 2019

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