• John Jantak

Grimaudo cites complete transparency during staging of first Festival au Galop


St. Lazare District 2 Councillor Pamela Tremblay said despite insinuations made by residents during question period at the Monday evening council meeting, the a public consultation meeting was held on April 15 to inform residents about the scope of the Festival au Galop and that the head of the Gens d’affaires de Saint-Lazare merchants association was also present.

Despite continued insinuations that St. Lazare spent too much money to stage its recent first Festival au Galop equestrian event, Mayor Robert Grimaudo told citizens at the Tuesday evening council meeting on October 6 that the town acted with complete transparency when it came to providing the expenses related to the event and it will continue to host the festival in the years to come.

Grimaudo was responding to criticism from Marc-André Esculier who continued to make assertions during question period that the town didn’t hold a public consultation meeting beforehand to determine whether the majority of residents wanted the event staged and that local businesses were mostly excluded from supplying food and refreshments during the three-day festival.

Both Grimaudo and District 2 Councillor Pamela Tremblay denied the insinuations that were leveled against the town, saying a public information meeting was held on April 15 to inform residents about the scope of the event and that the head of the Gens d’affaires de Saint-Lazare merchants association was also present.

“With Mr. Esculier, even though we proved to him and explained that the information he had about the merchants was wrong and inaccurate, he still thinks that he’s 100 per cent correct because that’s what he’s being told by somebody else,” Grimaudo told Your Local Journal. “It’s interesting that this person who was not on the organizing committee and was not involved in the Galop is being believed more than the people who were on the committee.

“People come up to the microphone with preconceived ideas that are not based on fact,” added Grimaudo. “They just make blanket statements that are completely based on misinformation.” He said that most merchants decided to take a wait-and-see approach to determine whether the event would be successful or they never contacted the town to indicate they wanted to participate.

In response to a statement made by another resident during question period about the upcoming Fête des Neiges being shortened to three days because a portion of the budget was transferred to stage the Galop, Grimaudo said the comment was completely inaccurate.

“That was just grandstanding,” said Grimaudo. “The reality is that is not what happened. The Fête des Neiges will be held for an eight-day period between January 23rd and February 1st. People come up to the microphone with politically motivated questions and make blanket statements. What was said was completely inaccurate and it doesn’t show much class on their part.”

In response to Esculier’s original query about receiving a complete breakdown of the expenditures related to the Galop that was requested under the province’s access to information laws, Grimaudo said the town showed complete transparency by complying and providing all the information that was requested.

“He doubts us because he’s been convinced otherwise,” said Grimaudo. “That’s his right, but we’ve gone over and above when it comes to cooperating with Mr. Esculier and that’s okay because we have to provide the information. If this gentleman is still convinced that he’s right and we’re wrong, there’s nothing much we can do about it.”

For Grimaudo, the Galop didn’t focus exclusively on the town’s equestrian community, but was meant to be an inclusive event for all residents, and said the 10,000 people who attended the three-day event in early August proved the drawing power that the festival had on the entire municipality.

It’s the positive reaction from residents that swayed council to hold the festival annually,” said Grimaudo. “It brought the whole community together from every corner of St. Lazare. That’s what it’s all about.”

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