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Opinion

Floods remind us we haven’t learned lessons of the past

By Andrew Caddell      

Dikes, berms, and floodways are sometimes a more sophisticated response than 'leave your homes forever.'

Quebec Premier François Legault posted this photo of him on Twitter speaking to reporters on April 29, the day he visited flooded areas in Maskinongé and Nicolet, Que. His government has offered to pay up to $200,000 to buy the homes of people who had built on flood plains, and leave the areas vacant. Photograph courtesy of François Legault’s Twitter/Emilie Nadeau

OTTAWA—In 1791, after a century of habitation in the flat plains along the Saint Lawrence River, an earthquake hit the parish of Kamouraska, Que., damaging the church and some of the town’s buildings. The priest at the time, Joseph-Amable Trutault, called it a “sign from God” the parish should move. However, he had an ulterior motive: he had experienced the annual flooding that hit the low-lying town each year when the Saint Lawrence and the nearby Kamouraska River overflowed their banks. When he built the next church on higher ground a few kilometres away, the town’s people followed.

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