• John Jantak

Razed trees prompt Vaudreuil-Dorion to review developer’s plans for campground


JOHN JANTAK

Patrick Larivière reads from a petition signed by over 100 area residents that was later presented to Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon during the Monday evening council meeting asking the city to consider stopping the development of the proposed Havre du Lac project in the southern part of the municipality.

The City of Vaudreuil-Dorion has hired a lawyer specializing in urbanism to determine whether the proposed Havre du Lac campsite development in the southern part of the city is in contravention of municipal by-laws, announced Mayor Guy Pilon at the Monday evening council meeting, November 17.

The move comes in response to the cutting down of 32 mature trees about one month ago by Diane Lévesque, the developer and owner of the property that was a former campsite on Meloche Street, that runs parallel to Route de Lotbinière, about two kilometers south of Harwood Boulevard. The city claims the trees were cut down without a permit and wants to determine whether the entire scope of the project complies with municipal regulations.

Area residents who were so incensed that a petition with over 100 signatures was presented to council by resident Patrick Larivière demanding that the owner replant the trees and stop the project. In an earlier interview with Your Local Journal, Lévesque asserted she removed the trees after receiving an email confirmation from the Environment Ministry and will contest the $16,000 fine from the city, $500 for each tree.

Residents also want the city to disallow the current campground development proposal which calls for 31 camping trailer lots with one lot reserved for visitor parking, saying the project is too large and will spoil the peaceful rural setting on Meloche Street because of increased traffic and concentrated population density.

For its part, the city is also seeking clarification from the developer regarding the type of camping structure that will be allowed – wheeled camping trailers or mobile homes – and is concerned that the individual campground lots are being offered for sale, which would contravene the campground’s intended use as a temporary place for people to stay between April offered to October.

“First, they cut down trees without our permission,” said Pilon. “And second, they still don’t have their Certificate of Authorization from the Environment Ministry for the septic tanks and potable water.” “The developer has the right of use of the land for camping, but at the end of the day, what they’re doing is apparently not in compliance with our regulations.”

Pilon said the petition that was presented to council on Monday will have no bearing on the town’s decision as to whether it will allow the current project to proceed. “Petition or not, if the developer is in compliance with our municipal regulations, they will be allowed to proceed with their project,” he said. “If they contravene our by-laws, they won’t be allowed to proceed,” Pilon added.

“It’s not the city’s position to tell developers whether they can or can’t build on their property. The main question for this project is, ‘Are the developers following our by-laws?’ And if they are not, they won’t be allowed to proceed with their project.” For area resident Mark Hollingworth, the city’s initiative to determine whether the project is in compliance with municipal by-laws is a positive step forward. He added that residents had no idea a new project was being planned until the trees were razed.

CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Thirty-two mature trees were cut down on the piece of Vaudreuil-Dorion land straddling rue Meloche and Chemin de Lotbinière in preparation for a camping development project, prompting the residents to present a petition to city council.

“If the trees hadn’t been cut down, the community would never have gotten together,” said Hollingworth. “That was the catalyst for us to say that whatever they’re trying to develop, this is not okay. We’d at least like to get a stay on the project and what we’re also asking for is consultation between the residents and city.

“We don’t mind it being developed and nobody minds it being a campsite, but what the developer is promoting on their website is not a campsite – 31 units just boggles the mind. If there were only 12 or 16 units and they hadn’t cut down the trees, they would have probably gotten away with it.’”

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