• James Armstrong

Pine Lake dam loan by-law approved by Hudson town council


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Cynthia Maher contemplates Pine Lake dam hoping that the destabilized structure will withstand the onslaught of winter.

The process of financing the replacement of Pine Lake dam took a step forward during the regular town council meeting held on Monday, August 4, when council members approved loan By-law 649-2014 for the maximum amount of $750,000. Mayor Ed Prévost said the sum of money does not necessarily mean that a new dam will cost that much. “None of us are interested in paying more than we have to,” said Prévost. “We have to have an envelope from which we can draw so that we don’t have to keep going back to the till.” He pointed out that the cost of partial dredging of the lake was included in the estimate.

After the by-law was passed, the mayor explained the steps that would have to be followed to have the dam built. They included the mandatory publication of a notice for the registry of signatures concerning the by-law, a call for the presentation of plans and specifications, and the creation of a citizens committee to oversee the whole process. The mayor noted that the registry of signatures would determine whether or not a referendum would be held. How the citizens committee will be created has not been decided. However, the mayor said that it could be made up of one citizen from each district plus the Town Clerk, Vincent Miranda.

“Following the reception of plans and specifications,” said Prévost, “we will apply to the Ministry of the Environment for certification.” After receiving approval from the province, the council can then issue a call for tenders for the actual work of building the dam and dredging of the lake.

“We are only allowed to dredge 20 per cent of the lake because of environmental concerns,” said Prévost in an interview the following week. “The reason why we want to do some dredging, particularly in the area of the dam, is to create a deeper retention area,” he said. The retention area is intended to help control excess water flow during torrential rainfall. When asked about a timeline for the construction of the dam, the mayor replied, “I don’t see anything happening before the spring.”

Prévost also said that if the total sum of $750,000 were to be used for the project, the cost to individual households would amount to $9.85 per year over 40 years. He noted that interest rate fluctuations were not factored into the calculation.

Although the replacement of the Pine Lake dam is good news for the residents who have property bordering its banks, some of them have serious concerns about the stability of the current dam. “What will happen to it over the winter and spring?” asked Cynthia Maher during an interview last week. Maher is concerned that the cracked and tilted structure is not stable enough wit withstand the pressures of winter ice, spring snow melt, run-off and rain. A corner of her property next to the dam was eroded during torrential rains earlier this summer.

When questioned regarding Maher’s concerns about the dam by Your Local Journal, Prévost responded. “I am sure that we are going to be asking our engineering consultants to tell us if there is a danger of everything falling apart.”

UPAC investigation

During the council meeting, the mayor commented on the subject of the ongoing investigation by the Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC) saying that council intends to send a letter to UPAC asking them to confirm their timeline for whatever criminal proceedings they intend to take. “If the answers are not acceptable, then council will consider pursuing former administrators in civil court,” said the mayor. Prévost confirmed a letter had been sent to Robert Lafrenière, Commissaire À La Lutte Contre La Corruption that states, “…we need to know if you intend to proceed with criminal charges.” The mayor was not able to estimate the amount of money that is missing but did indicate that it is a large enough sum to warrant the expense of taking legal action.

Animal protection

Council also passed a notice of motion for a by-law concerning animals kept as pets in the territory of Hudson. Director General Catherine Haulard, who developed the legislation, explained some of the details. The law is aimed at preventing cruelty to animals including the creation of ‘puppy mills’, provides for a capture, neuter and release program for feral cats and the control of stray dogs. The sale of dogs and cats will be strictly prohibited with the exception of animal refuge facilities accredited by the town. Haulard commented that Hudson is one of the first Quebec municipalities to propose the adoption of a law that protects the welfare of animals, noting there are stiff fines for some of the infractions. Details of the proposed by-law are available in French on the town website. Town clerk, Vincent Maranda said that an English translation would be available soon. The by-law will be presented at the next Council meeting.

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