• John Jantak

Chaline Valley stabilization work could begin as late as 2018


Some St. Lazare Chaline Valley residents are questioning why the work required to stabilize the banks of the Quinchien River won’t be completed for another three to four years.

It could take another three or four years before work to stabilize the sloping landscape along the Quinchien River in the Chaline Valley sector of St. Lazare begins, according to a newsletter that was recently published on the town’s website and directed to area residents.

The online newsletter summarizes the key points made at a public information session for Chaline Valley residents in mid-May and provides a timeline of the steps the town will take in the interim before construction work to reinforce the surrounding landscape is slated to begin sometime in 2017 or 2018.

Shortly after the information session, the town sent a letter of intent to the provincial Ministry of Public Security requesting financial and technical support required for the implementation of stabilization work under the Cadre de prévention de sinistres (2013-2020) in order to limit potential landslide risks. Town council passed a resolution approving the application for financial support in early June.

The provincial government is presently assessing the town’s eligibility for financial assistance. Engineers from the Ministry of Transport are also expected to determine the best technical solutions for stabilizing the land in Chaline Valley with the assistance of other provincial ministries.

A decision regarding whether St. Lazare will receive funding for the proposed stabilization work is expected by early next year. If the town’s request for financial assistance is approved, project funding will be sought from the Conseil du Trésor for the 2015-2016 financial year. If the town is not eligible, it will consult with homeowners on their available options.

The town estimates that the total cost of the land stabilization work at about $20 million with a contribution from the municipality of $3 million or more, depending on the complexity of the stabilization solution selected. If the province agrees to provide financial assistance, it will assume 70.5 per cent of the cost with taxpayers shouldering the remaining 29.5 per cent.

During the 2015-2016 timeframe, the town will also conduct an in-depth analysis regarding the appropriate technical solutions proposed and choose the best option. It will also perform a cost analysis, draft specifications, start the tendering process, and hold a signature registry for the borrowing by-law to determine whether costs should be borne exclusively by Chaline Valley residents or the entire town.

After these steps are completed, the town will also have to get various provincial government approvals including obtaining various ministerial certificates and adopt different resolutions required to proceed with the stabilization work.

Chaline Valley resident Richard Meades is unimpressed with the timeframe and said something should have been done to remedy the situation several years ago. “The new Champlain Bridge will be completed and operational before work even begins in Chaline Valley,” Meades said. “It’s ridiculous. This should have been dealt with when it first became public in 2008. There are still trees toppling over in the ravine.”

Mayor Robert Grimaudo told residents at a recent council meeting that according to the Ministry of Transport, there is no imminent risk of a landslide anytime in the near future, and that the town has started preliminary work to resolve the situation. In a telephone interview yesterday afternoon, Grimaudo told Your Local Journal that the town is following all the required procedures that will determine when and if any type of stabilization work is required. He added that because there is no imminent landslide risk, the Ministry doesn’t consider the situation in St. Lazare a priority but will continue to assess the situation.

“This will enable us to do exact evaluations of the slope,” said Grimaudo. “These evaluations will determine what, if any work, needs to be done. When we say we’re looking at 2017 or possibly 2018 to do any work, it’s because we need to know exactly what’s required. We know that we need to stabilize the slope, but what does that mean exactly? This is what we have to find out.”

Grimaudo agreed that something should have been done when the issue was first made public in 2008. “I cannot change what happened in the past,” Grimaudo said. “I can only change what is being done now. In the past two years, we have done more for the residents of Chaline Valley than was done previously and we will continue to address the issue.”

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