• John Jantak

New Chaline Valley access road should be ready by winter


St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo stands next to a construction vehicle driven by municipal employee Raynald Ménard as construction continues on a new access road that will connect Rue de Carillon in Chaline Valley to Chemin Ste. Angelique.

A new access road being built to provide an alternate entrance and exit route for residents living in St. Lazare’s Chaline Valley is proceeding on schedule and is expected to be partially completed and open to vehicle traffic by the start of winter. Mayor Robert Grimaudo told Your Local Journal during a tour of the construction site October 29 that the partially completed artery that will connect Rue de Carillon to Chemin Ste. Angelique will be temporarily comprised of a solid, packed dirt surface that will be resurfaced and paved with asphalt by spring 2015.

The new road addresses a serious security issue regarding accessibility because Chemin St. Louis is the only major road currently leading into and out of Chaline Valley. Residents have long worried that a serious situation could arise, such as a train derailment along the Canadian Pacific (CP) railway tracks that cross over Chemin St. Louis. In late September 2010, 12 cars from a 50-car freight train derailed along the CP tracks in St. Lazare because a mudslide covered the tracks.

There is an alternate emergency exit in the southwestern section of Chaline Valley that extends from Rue Chaline to Rue Proulx through private wooded lots, but it’s a small, single lane dirt road that could be extremely difficult to navigate in the winter, said Grimaudo.

“The residents have been concerned about this for many years and this is exactly why we’re building the new road. It’s an issue that has been raised several times at council meeting and rightfully so. It’s a file that’s been open for many years and has never been resolved until now. I’m just happy that we were able to finally resolve this issue.” G r i m a u d o said that the new road is part of the town’s continuing efforts to rectify the situation in Chaline Valley, especially regarding potential landslides.

“As you know, and as resident Richard Meades has personally acknowledged at recent council meetings, we have done more in the past two years to address the issues in Chaline Valley than has been done in the previous 20 years. “This new road is just another example of that,” Grimaudo added. “We’ve addressed the landslide issue. There is no short-term solution. We know that, we’ve addressed it, and we’re continuing to work on it.

The road is also a priority and we’re working on it.” Grimaudo said he would prefer if the town had more leeway in terms of being able to deal the landslide issue, but said the municipality has to work within the administrative rules outlined by the provincial Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire (MAMOT).

“The reality is that municipalities are just an extension of the provincial government that are mandated by the MAMOT,” said Grimaudo. “We do what we can within our jurisdiction and power. The road is within our jurisdiction and power and we’ve been able to do it quickly. Other things take more time. We do the best we can while trying to balance our budget at the same time.”

District 3 Councillor Brigitte Asselin, who represents the town’s constituents living in Chaline Valley, was unable to participate in the interview because of a prior commitment. She was, nonetheless, credited by Grimaudo for her continued dedication and perseverance to make the new access road become a reality. “Madame Asselin has been pushing this file for well over 10 years and rightfully so because this is a security issue,” Grimaudo said. “We needed a second exit for Chaline Valley and now we’re going to have one.”

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