Letter to the editor 1, Nov. 26, 2015
Having just signed the petition against the expenditure of $10 million for a new St. Lazare town hall, I feel it necessary to raise the following points.
The administration of St. Lazare have had some eight to 12 months to prepare the proposed new town hall project, what with architects plans, material cost analysis, legal opinions, soil testing, presentation material and submissions to the government for financial assistance.
I would estimate that the cost so far, as well as time and salaries of the 10 persons involved for the petition have cost St. Lazare taxpayers close to $100,000, as architects and material cost analysis do not come cheap.
On the flip side, those who do not want the administration to spend this $10 million, had one day, actually 10 hours, in which to collect the required 500 signatures, with no budget or visible announcements, other than a few lines in Your Local Journal, The Gazette and a write up on the St. Lazare website.
Unfortunately not all citizens have the time to follow such announcements on a daily or even weekly basis; therefore we do not get to have a balanced option or petition taking place.
The administration could have been more transparent, if they had allowed more than one day for the signing of the petition, and it would have been more open to public scrutiny if they had announced this project, the cost and the option of the petition, by posting five or six large board announcements on the major roads into St. Lazare, such as Côte St. Charles, Montée St. Lazare, St. Angelique, Avenue Bedard and Chemin St. Louis, so that more people would have been more aware of this project, and the possibility to approve or object in the petition. Hypothetically, if the administration had been allowed one day for the signing for those citizens of St. Lazare who were in favour of spending $10 million on a new town hall, I wonder how many signatures they would have obtained.