• John Jantak

Grimaudo takes on key role in upcoming MMC urban plan discussions


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo has been appointed by the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges to lead discussions regarding future urban development plans for the region with the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC).

St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo has been appointed by the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges to lead discussions regarding future urban development plans for the region with the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC).

The MRC’s upcoming meetings will focus specifically on the Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan (PMAD) that was adopted by the MMC in December 2011 which focuses on providing sustainable urban living environments and efficient transportation networks and facilities, while protecting 17 per cent of a region’s environmental biodiversity.

For Grimaudo, the aim of the discussions is to ensure that whatever future development plans proposed for the 11 MRC municipalities, which would be directly affected by the PMAD, it proceeds within a logical framework that takes into consideration each municipality’s dynamics and needs.

Grimaudo stressed that special considerations are required for each municipality, including St. Lazare which would like to preserve as much of its green spaces and other community-specific aspects as possible that gives the town its unique charm.

“The original plan was created to prevent urban sprawl,” said Grimaudo, “but the MMC’s current urban planning strategy is not necessarily healthy for St. Lazare. Since a large portion of the developable land that appears in the PMAD is in St. Lazare, it is mandatory that I be there front and centre during these discussions.

“There are a lot of factors here that come into play that the PMAD will have to take into account,” Grimaudo added. “Our environmental areas, our very distinct equestrian heritage which cannot be ignored, and the fact that most of our water comes from wells which means we have to be very careful with how we develop our land.

“So when the PMAD recommends a certain densification in St. Lazare, it is going to be up to us to come back and say why certain areas cannot be developed,” said Grimaudo. “A very logical and intelligent discussion has to be brought into these meetings and this is what I intend to do.”

Another area of concern for Grimaudo is properly balancing urban densification when it comes to new developments and existing infrastructure, especially since the town’s current road system is comprised almost exclusively of two-lane highways and traffic gridlock has become common at certain hours, particularly in the centre of St. Lazare during rush hours.

Grimaudo stressed that traffic problems affect not only St. Lazare, but other communities as well and all the regional mayors affected by the PMAD will meet to discuss traffic and other issues in order to present a united front when they begin their meetings with the MMC.

“Traffic is an issue that definitely has to be looked at,” said Grimaudo. “We know that we can probably handle the traffic in the east end of town at St. Angelique Road and Cité des Jenues. Cité des Jeunes is controlled by the provincial government and they’ll have to eventually make whatever changes they need to make. How the densification or added population will affect the Town of St. Lazare, that’s for us to look at.

“Our ultimate goal is to explain to the MMC that we will concur to a certain extent,” Grimaudo added. “But there are certain things we can do and there are certain things we can’t do and we have to explain to them why we can’t do certain things when it comes to development, the environment, water and other issues. There are very good arguments that can be made.”

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