Recent Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot landslide designation worries St. Lazare’s Chaline Valley resident
By John Jantak
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Toppled trees straddle across the Quinchien River near Chaline Street in St. Lazare that has left several residents wondering why the town hasn’t taken a more pro-active approach to deal with the situation.
The potential risk of a landslide in the Les Palissades de l’Anse au Sable luxury home development in Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot, and the news of two recent landslides in the Laurentian communities of Lac des Seize Îles on April 15 and in Ste. Sophie on Sunday, April 20, has raised concerns for residents in St. Lazare’s Chaline Valley about whether their area could suffer a similar fate.
Richard Meades, a Chaline Valley resident and outspoken critic of the town’s handling of the situation, said he is especially disturbed by the town’s continuous refusal to answer questions related to a provincial Ministry of Environment designation made in 2012 that the area – particularly residences near the Quinchien River – is within a “landslide zone.”
Residents were told about the landslide risk during a special town hall meeting in September 2012. In March 2013, Meades submitted a petition signed by over 120 area homeowners to Mayor Robert Grimaudo that stated residents were very concerned about the designation because it negatively affected their ability to sell their homes, and asked the town for greater transparency regarding the issue.
After waiting for more than one year for the town to respond to several issues that were raised in a seven-page letter that was included with the petition, it was resubmitted a second time earlier this year, but again there was no response from the town, according to Meades.
“We harbor the feeling that Chaline Valley is treated as the ‘Siberia’ of the town, especially so when the elected member of council (Brigitte Asselin) whose responsibility is to fight vigourously on our behalf, has been generally uninvolved in the debate surrounding Chaline Valley,” states the letter that was signed by Meades and co-authored by resident Benoît Tremblay.
Meades said the shoreline along the Quinchien River, which meanders its way behind several homes built atop the nearby slope, regularly suffers from soil erosion.
The problem is exacerbated during the spring from the annual snowmelt and from the high water table that regularly flows down the slope because the drainage ditches which are meant to handle water overflow from the surrounding wetlands and rainstorms apparently weren’t profiled properly when they were first built, according to Meades.
A recent visit to the riverfront with Meades by Your Local Journal near Chaline Street, revealed that several mature trees had fallen across the river and certain areas were completely blocked with debris including branches and trees, which he says prevents the normal flow of water and unnecessarily causes further erosion.
Meades said a simple solution would be for the town to remove all the debris regularly to prevent water damming and begin reinforcing the riverfront by building a riprap or sea wall with large rocks and planting indigenous trees such as willows that would help absorb excess water through their root system.
Mayor Robert Grimaudo told Meades during the April 1st council meeting that the town is still waiting for the Environment Ministry report and they are just as anxious to see what the report has to say. “We’re waiting for the information,” Grimaudo said. “We’re asking, we’re hoping, and as soon as we have it, you will have it.”
Meades also had harsh words for a municipal committee that was established by the town to look into the matter because it did not include any residents from the area who would have been able to present their own suggestions and recommendations on what could be done to improve the situation and help quell homeowner’s anxieties.
A call to Mayor Grimaudo’s office for comment on the current situation was not returned by press time.
April 24, 2014