Subdividing lots in Hudson hits a snag as citizens protest proposed change
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
The prospect of subdivided lots in Hudson brought out a full house to the recent council meeting where resident Eva McCartney presented a petition protesting the motion.
Hudson Town Council was obliged to withdraw an omnibus by-law during the well-attended regular council meeting held Monday, March 2. District 1 Councillor Robert Spencer voted against the first project of By- Law 658 modifying By-Law 527 concerning subdivisions when it came up for adoption. Spencer pointed out the Town Planning Advisory Committee (TPAC) had not made a recommendation to council agreeing with smaller lots town wide. The original by-law was intended to deal with a proposed subdivision of several lots on Mayfair Street.
“The only recommendation I read in the minutes from TPAC was regarding Mayfair,” Spencer pointed out. “There was no recommendation from TPAC to allow smaller lots across the town.” Councillor Deborah Woodhead replied that there had been a miscommunication at the February council meeting as to whether or not the bylaw was specific to Mayfair or was applicable town-wide and that, indeed, it is applicable across the town.
Spencer, along with Councillor Ron Goldenberg voted against the adoption of the by-law and was supported by Woodhead because of the discrepancy in the TPAC minutes. There also appeared to be difficulties concerning changes to By-Law 660 modifying By- Law 526 concerning zoning. The result was the withdrawal of By-Law 658 by Mayor Ed Prévost. Many members of the capacity audience expressed opposition to the proposed subdivision and zoning bylaws.
Mayfair Street resident Shannon Gill and Como Gardens resident Eva McCartney presented two petitions to council requesting the town council cancel the subdivision proposal. According to Gill, the petition she posted on the side of her house garnered 106 signatures from the Mayfair and Alstonvale area.
“Many of the residents went out of their way to come and sign the petition which I gave to the town earlier today and a copy to Vincent Maranda (Town Clerk) this evening,” said Gill. She pointed out that residents are concerned about traffic issues and the sharp bend in Mayfair Street. Gill was disappointed that her District Councillor, Nathalie Best was not present. The mayor explained that Best was away on vacation.
Gill replied that she understood and that many residents were also away and asked, “Then why is council presenting this by-law tonight?” to a round of applause from the audience. “I don’t see what the rush is especially when our own councillor cannot voice her opinion on the vote,” she added. Gill pointed out that she had been told at a previous council meeting that the residents supported the proposed development. “This is clearly not the case,” she noted.
McCartney’s petition focused on how the by-law amendments will affect environmentally sensitive areas of Hudson including the wetlands and green-spaces particularly the bog in Como Gardens. “Even with pressure from the MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges for densification,” said McCartney, “the guidelines call for perseveration and conservation of wetlands.”
She pointed out that she had trusted the town when development was allowed to begin in her neighborhood, also when the water filtration unit was built on Como Gardens. McCartney pointed out the development has not been completed and the water treatment plant smells of effluent all summer long and the roads are in poor condition.
“I trusted your Planning Department when they were building the Palliative Care Center,” she said. “Did anyone ever give any consideration for need for adequate parking facilities?” she added noting that she hoped council would listen to the citizens of the town.
In other business, Mayor Prévost announced the town treasurer Ramin Jawanda had resigned on Friday, February 27. Prévost said that the recent 10-day suspension of Director General Catherine Haulard had nothing to do with Jawanda’s decision. “The working atmosphere was not to her liking,” he said noting that Jawanda had worked hard for the town particularly during the recent audit.
Pine Lake and the four resolutions passed at the extraordinary council meeting held Tuesday, February 24, were the topic of presentation by Martin J. Lechowicz who is a member of the committee responsible for the overseeing the replacement of the dam. Two of the resolutions authorized the spending of up to $10,000 each for preparation and consulting work that needs to be done.
The other two resolutions were the calls for tender required to begin the emergency work. A professor in the Department of Biology at McGill University, Lechowicz explained that the committee is working from the premise that Pine Lake will be restored. He described the situation as a water management problem that has to deal with the volume of water from upstream water shed.
“Forty-three percent of that watershed is in Hudson and 57 percent is Vaudreuil-Dorion and St. Lazare,” Lechowicz said. The most pressing issue, according to Lechowicz, is the preparation work that needs to be done immediately because of the imminent spring thaw. He said that accumulated silt and sediment in the culvert that conducts water away from the dam and passes under under Cameron Road needs to be tested for hazardous content, be removed and disposed of appropriately.
According to Lechowicz, the culvert is currently half full of sediment. Testing of the sediment in the lakebed also needs to happen before any dredging can be done. As Lechowicz pointed out, an opportune moment to do the testing is while the surface of the lake is frozen. Lechowicz also noted that stabilization of the dam needs to begin soon to prevent it or the surrounding banks from washing away during a flood, particularly during the spring thaw. Property lines and city boundaries around the perimeter of Pine Lake also need to be surveyed.