No going back on Dunes Lake land swap arrangement
St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo said the arrangement made earlier this year to preserve Dunes Lake from further residential development in a land swap arrangement with Habitations Robert will stand and not be rescinded despite objections from some Cedarbrook residents who say they will lose the forested canopy surrounding their houses instead because of the deal.
Mayor Robert Grimaudo rejected a request made by a group of three residents to get St. Lazare council to reverse a decision that resulted in a portion of wooded land being swapped in the Cedarbrook district in order to preserve forested areas of Dunes Lake that were originally scheduled for residential development.
The residents made their impassioned plea to Grimaudo and the town’s six town councillors during the second question period at the November 4 Tuesday evening council meeting in what apparently was a final attempt to get the town to reverse its decision. The Dune’s Lake land that was originally slated for development was ceded to the town in exchange for forested land in the Cedarbrook district that area homeowners mistakenly assumed would have been kept as a green zone since it was previously owned by the municipality.
For the town, the land swap deal was an opportunity to preserve a significant chunk of environmentally sensitive land that would benefit all the town’s residents at no additional cost to taxpayers. But Cedarbrook residents say they’re the ones who will lose their green space at the expense of residents living near Dunes Lake, those who no longer have to worry about any future developments.
The contentious deal was made in early spring. Since August, residents have regularly raised the issue during question period at each monthly council meeting and repeatedly asked the mayor and councillors to reverse their decision, or to at least consider making an alternate arrangement with the developer, Habitations Robert, to swap the Cedarbrook land for another parcel of forested land.
Grimaudo repeatedly rejected the residents’ suggestion for another land swap arrangement, saying all it would do is shift the onus onto other homeowners who would probably also object to having their surrounding land developed, and result in possible legal action against the town by the developer for contravening the deal.
“We were very clear with the residents,” Grimaudo told Your Local Journal after the meeting. “Even this summer, we were there, two councillors and I, and we explained to them that this is not going to change. We said we would meet the contractor, make him sensitive to the construction issues regarding the land and topography, but that the decisions we took are not going to change. Resident Normand Limoges expressed his disappointment and frustration with council’s decision, saying that another land swap deal could have been made if the mayor and council had the will to do so.