Pine Lake Dam and pet by-law dominate Hudson council meeting
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
After months of discussion, emergency repairs, and threats of legal action, the Pine Lake dam issue is moving forward with the upcoming September 9 registry signing date taking place at Town Hall, 481 Main Road.
The pet by-law approved at the September 2 evening council meeting received a warm round of applause from the audience. The new law aimed at protecting and controlling pets on the territory of Hudson is the creation of Director General, Catherine Haulard, the preamble to the law points out there are an estimated 500,000 abandoned pets per year in Quebec, an estimated 1500 to 1800 puppy mills producing approximately 400,000 puppies every year.
In an effort to facilitate the application of the new rules and regulations, the creation of a Committee for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was included in the by-law. Members of the committee are Veterinarian Tadeusz Sikorski, Chief of Adult Mental Health at CSSS-VS Danielle Tremblay, family physician Wendy Kaplan, representatives from the SPCA and the West Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Town Clerk Vincent Maranda, Director of Public Safety Philippe Baron, and Director General Catherine Haulard.
Resident Frank Hicks raised a question regarding the “grandfathered rights” in reference to the number of dogs an individual is permitted to keep. The new law stipulates a maximum of three dogs per household. Haulard replied, “If someone owns five dogs, you’re entitled to keep your dogs.” She explained further that as those numbers are reduced by the course of nature, the owners would be expected to adhere to the law. “If you want to keep more than three dogs,” said Haulard, “you need to come and see us and get a special permit.”
The replacement of the Pine Lake dam was also a subject for discussion. Mayor Ed Prévost announced a letter outlining the step-by-step scenario for the project would be arriving in citizens’ mailboxes the next day. Questions were raised by several citizens regarding the registry for the loan by-law for $750,000 that will be held Tuesday September 9, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. as to whether or not the hours could be extended or have it re-scheduled for a Saturday.
Maranda replied the hours for the registry are regulated by provincial law and are very specific as to opening and closing times. A question was raised regarding the consequences of council extending the hours despite the law. Maranda replied that council does not have the jurisdiction to change provincial law and he would not recommend taking this direction to anyone. He pointed out that anything not done according to the law could make the whole process null and void. Mayor Prévost pointed out, during an interview on Wednesday afternoon, that breaking the law would result in serious consequences for the town.
“Hudson is already under the microscope,” he said, referring to the ongoing detailed audit of the fire hall construction project and the still uncompleted Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC) investigation. The dollar amount of the loan bylaw was also a subject for discussion during the question periods as was the process for rebuilding the dam.
The mayor said the sum of money is based on a preliminary cost estimate received from the engineering firm hired earlier in the year. Prévost emphasized that the town does not want to spend any more money on the project than it has too. As for questions regarding the loan by-law process, the mayor replied provincial law requires it and said a selection committee comprised of local citizens, the town clerk and members of the council will oversee the project. A question was raised concerning the audit of the 2013 budget.
Treasurer Ramin Jawanda replied that the audit is progressing though the auditors have been on vacation and will be returning next week. She noted that it is a large detailed audit and will likely be completed in the coming months. Noxious weeds such as ragweed and poison ivy were a topic of discussion with particular reference to the upkeep of roadsides bordering residential properties.
According to Haulard, it is the responsibility of property owners to maintain these pieces of town land by cutting the weeds and grass. When asked about the enforcement of the by-law pertaining to this issue, the DG replied this is a Community Patrol task saying individuals working for the patrol would be receiving training in this area. In other business, the mayor reported there would not be a written response from the UPAC to the town’s recent letter seeking a projected conclusion. Prévost said that he was given this information by the second in command of UPAC at a recent Municipalité Régionale de Comté de Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC VS) meeting.
“They don’t do letters,” said the mayor referring to UPAC. He did point out that there has been an increase in the exchange of information between the town and UPAC and said he interpreted this as a good sign. Prévost also announced the next Meet the Mayor & Council will take place on Saturday, September 27, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Center.