• Carmen Marie Fabio

More problems for Pine Lake dam


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Cameron Street in Hudson was closed between Ridge Street and Mount Pleasant after a torrential June 24 rainfall contributed to the ongoing deterioration of the dam on Pine Lake, leaving elected officials concerned for the structural integrity of the roadway.

Following a day-long deluge that dumped over 50 millimetres (mm) of rain June 24, Hudson town officials closed Cameron Street adjacent to the ailing Pine Lake dam between Ridge Street and Mount Pleasant as a precautionary measure.

“Catherine Haulard called me at 12:30 a.m.,” said Mayor Ed Prévost of the town’s Director General, “to advise me of the water gushing over the dam. We decided to close the road and she asked community patrol to remain at the spot overnight.” Prévost also said nearby residents were alerted to the situation.

“The eff ect of all that water from the downpour is significant and metal girders that were holding up both sides of the dam came crashing down last night,” said Prévost.

Engineer Pierre L’Abbé from the firm EXP Inc. was scheduled to conduct an assessment of the stability of the road structure the afternoon of June 25. As of press time, his findings had not been released.

“The security of that road, and the residents, is far more important than anything else right now,” said Prévost. The mayor also said that Haulard is asking the Quebec Environment Ministry for a ministerial decree allowing the town to fast-track any procedural process.

Cameron Street residents Jennifer Butler and Stephane Sauvé called the city in late May to advise them that within the previous month, their main water line had begun to rattle every time heavy traffic passed their property. “The main water pipe runs under the road,” said Butler. “I think there’s less sand and rock left to insulate the pipes.”

Soon after they called the town, workers reinforced the banks of the residential property that backs onto the dam and restricted the roadway to vehicles five tons and less. The speed limit in the area has also been reduced from 40 to 30 kilometres per hour, and Prévost confirmed that, following a request to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), extra police presence was given to help enforce the new limit.

The town has not yet decided whether to repair the dam, replace it with an alternate structure, or allow the waterway to revert to its former state as a stream. A document obtained by Your Local Journal details a June 7, 1984 agreement between then-mayor J. Taylor Bradbury and the ‘Pine Lake Club’ with the latter agreeing to relinquish the existing lease of the lake to the Town of Hudson. The agreement stipulates the town agrees to, “maintain the dam on Cameron Avenue (sic) after date of transfer.” Prévost agreed that the dam is, indeed, the property of the town for which it paid $1, with a $.03 taxation charge, 30 years ago.

Th ough Prévost was previously told a grant may have been available through the TECA program (taxe sur l’essence et de la contribution du Québec) but those funds are primarily given for infrastructure work including sewage pipes and road paving. “Dams are at the bottom of the list,” said Prévost.

Hydrological studies are currently underway upstream of Pine Lake in order to determine existing and water volume and silt content, “But it’s primarily going to determine the volume of water that’s going to flow through existing tributaries into Pine Lake over the next 50 years.”

“What will determine what the people of Hudson want and what they’re prepared to pay for is when we present them with a loan by-law,” said Prévost of the possibilities of either rebuilding or demolishing the dam. “But regardless of what we choose, it’s going to cost money.” Prévost said the possibility exists that the government may determine the safest solution for Cameron Street is to build a bridge, rather than continuing to reinforce the culvert that runs under the roadway.

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