• John Jantak

St. Lazare adopts urban development plan highlighting environmental preservation


St. Lazare town clerk Nathaly Rayneault, Mayor Robert Grimaudo, Urbanist-stagiaire Jessica McKenzie, and Urbanist Hélène Doyon from the private consulting firm Hdurbaniste, present the town’s new urban plan at special public consultation meeting on March 22.

St. Lazare announced it will maintain its rustic rural environmental setting while keeping development located close to its periphery during a presentation of its revised urban plan at a special public consultation meeting Tuesday evening, March 22.

The plan, which complies with urban densification requirements as stipulated by the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC), shifts the onus away from developing in areas that should be maintained as wet lands and forest canopy, and focuses on meeting the region’s growing population by concentrating urban development in the Boulevard Cité-des-Jeunes area, said Hélène Doyon.

Doyon, an urbanist with Hdurbaniste private consulting firm, who was hired to research the town’s unique rural aspects which includes relying on a large underground aquifer that supplies most of the town’s potable water, presented the final report to about seven residents who attended the presentation. Several councillors also sat in on meeting, as did Executive Director Serge Tremblay.

“We’re very pleased with the result,” Grimaudo told Your Local Journal after the meeting. “Many years ago when the CMM was imposing densification on us, people were concerned. Did we want St. Lazare to lose its heritage look? And we all agreed that the answer was no.

“It’s because of St. Lazare’s unique environment, that I participated on the committee that prepared the compliance program for the Plan d’aménagement et de développement (PMAD) for the MMC and we got a clause in there called the St. Lazare Clause,” he added. “This clause basically says notwithstanding what the MMC and everybody else wants, the fact is that we live in a very unique area and it has to be protected.”

Grimaudo said the new regulations that were adopted during the consultation meeting ensure that the environmental integrity of the town will be maintained to preserve its rural feel.

“Where people were concerned that lots were going to get smaller, the reality is that single service lots are getting bigger, not smaller,” said Grimaudo. “We’re going to be implementing a conservation area on lots so that when a lot is being developed in a new residential area, 70 per cent of the land will have to be left for conservation. Only 30 per cent will be developed.

“This will allow us to keep our forest canopy, wetlands, bio-diversity and very unique ecosystem,” Grimaudo added. “The whole point of being involved in this two-year process is that it has protected St. Lazare and allowed us to be the exception to the rule.”

As construction in the H-300 residential park on Chemin Ste. Angelique continues, Grimaudo said another residential development will be built close by on Boulevard Cité-des-Jeunes. The new H-334 development will feature about 260 detached and semi-detached units.

“We will densify along Boulevard Cité-des-Jeunes and areas like that because the environment isn’t such an issue there and services like sewage and water are available,” said Grimaudo. “This is what I mean by saying it was a little bit of give and take. We will not be densifying the way the CMM wanted us to and in turn we hope our plan will be accepted.

“We also want to protect our unique way of life,” Grimaudo added. “We are a bedroom community that people come to because they want this type of life and this is what we going to continue offering. If they don’t want this kind of life, they stay in and West Island and in Montreal.”

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