Vaudreuil-Dorion residents unhappy with campground development
CARMEN MARIE FABIO
Havre du Lac seasonal camp site developer said the felled trees at the Meloche Street site will be replaced once the construction on the interior road is completed.
Residents living along a quiet stretch of waterfront road in Vaudreuil-Dorion are questioning why a mobile home development project was given the green light in an otherwise quiet residential neighbourhood and are upset that 32 mature and reportedly healthy trees were felled in mid-October before a permit was issued by the city.
“The land was already zoned for camping,” said Director General Martin Houde. “The owner can do what she wants - it’s her land.” Houde said the only thing the city asked developer Diane Lévesque to change about her Havre du Lac development was its operating season length, from 12 to six months of the year, running from April to October. The project straddles a parcel of land on Meloche Street parallel with Chemin de Lotbinière, lying directly across the street from the shores of the Ottawa River, on a street dotted with primarily small homes.
Lévesque plans to develop the area to be home to 31 high-end mobile homes targeted at retirement-age buyers who spend summers in the region and winter in warmer climates. “I kept the same clientele from before but this is a nicer project,” she said. “It’ll also bring in tax revenue for the city.” Houde said the trees were cut down without a permit and Lévesque will be fined $500 per tree for a total of $16,000. “The ticket will be sent to the owner indicating she had no right to cut the trees before obtaining the permit.”
He went on to say the developer is required to have a certificate of authorization (CA) from the Environment Ministry for the project’s septic system and potable water. “Until the developer has the necessary certificates, we will not issue any permits.” Lévesque countered the claims saying she had received the necessary authorization from the Environment Ministry via email and said she’ll contest any fine issued by the city.
Lévesque explained the felled trees were Weeping Willows and, over the years, had caused significant damage to the existing drainage systems that had been in place when the grounds were previously used as a camp ground. Area residents have pointed out that the grove of trees provided an effective wind block from the open fields on the western side of Lotbinière Street and said they know from years of living in the area that snow drifts this coming winter are bound to be worse without the natural wind barrier in place.
Lévesque told Your Local Journal that besides the inherent problems with Weeping Willow root systems; it was also necessary to clear the trees in order to accommodate the road being built on the 84,000 square foot lot and said once the project is completed, she plans to consult with regional arborists to determine the best types of trees to plant on the grounds and will be replacing the felled trees. Another issues raised by Meloche Street residents included additional automotive traffic that is expected to come from visitors to the mobile home site.
Lévesque said sufficient parking is part of the project’s plan and that one of the 32 sub-zoned lots will be a designated visitor-parking area. “I can’t leave these kinds of trees there,” she said, acknowledging that while they may look nice, their root system is too damaging to septic and water systems. “I know, when you look at it, it’s sad. But it’s to my advantage to replant trees to make it look nice again. That’s what I want as a result and customers will want that too.”