• John Jantak

St. Lazare will announce solution for Chaline Valley landslide issue this fall


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

St. Lazare resident Scott MacNab stands atop the area where his above-ground swimming pool stood. The town will allow him to proceed with his project if MacNab does a geotechnical study to determine if the ground is stable enough and said it will also announce a permanent solution to the Chaline Valley landslide issue this fall.

The Town of St. Lazare will announce a permanent solution to the landslide issue that has affected residents living in Chaline Valley this fall. The announcement comes just days after a resident complained that he couldn’t get a construction permit to build an in-ground swimming pool on his property.

Scott MacNab said he was shocked to discover he couldn’t proceed with the project because a town official told him his house is located within the Chaline Valley landslide risk zone. He dismantled an above-ground swimming pool to begin the preparatory work for the new pool and decided to check with the town to make sure he was in compliance with its regulations.

That’s when MacNab learned that his house on Chemin Chaline was located within the designated landslide red zone. This revelation also stunned MacNab and his family who had purchased the home, built in 2007, from the original owner in 2010.

“Since learning about this landslide issue and that I’m living in a red zone came to light, I read through my certificate of location. There is nothing in the certificate that mentions that this property is in a slide zone,” MacNab told Your Local Journal.

MacNab admits he disregarded information provided by a neighbour in 2011 that his house was located in the landslide zone, saying he wasn’t bothered by the revelation because he felt it didn’t directly affect him. His attitude about the issue changed over one week ago when he found out about the designation and that he couldn’t get a construction permit.

“I was told I can’t have a permit because I’m in the red zone,” said MacNab. “I said, ‘What do you mean I can’t get a permit? It’s my property, I pay my taxes and now you’re telling me I can’t put in a swimming pool’. I was completely shocked. Why wasn’t this mentioned in the certificate of location when I bought the home?”

MacNab doesn’t fault the previous owners saying they may have been unaware of the landslide zone designation but he wonders why the town would have allowed homes to have been built at the time if they knew about the situation.

“The home was built in 2007 so it would have had to have been surveyed in 2006,” said MacNab. “Now I’m asking myself did the city know that this was a slide zone before then? If that’s the case, they should have never issued the permit to build the house in the first place.”

He noted that Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot (NDIP), which encountered their own landslide situation in the area surrounding the Les palissades de l’anse au sable luxury home development in November 2013, recently adopted a concrete plan to stabilize the land with the help of the municipality and provincial government. Stabilization work will begin in 2017 and be completed before the end of the year.

St. Lazare Director General Serge Tremblay said he understands MacNab’s frustration, but noted the town and province are making significant headway to find a permanent solution to the landslide issue in Chaline Valley which will be presented to residents in the fall, now that a solution has been reached in NDIP.

Tremblay noted the situation in NDIP is significantly different because there is only one slope that requires stabilization, whereas in St. Lazare, houses are located on both sides of a ravine and this requires a different strategy to make sure the surrounding land is stabilized properly.

“We’ve been expecting an answer from the provincial government for many months,” said Tremblay. “When MacNab applied for his permit, we didn’t have any information yet. But since then, we have met with the government officials and we now have a framework as to how we will begin to approach the problem to finally resolve the situation.”

As a result of the meeting, Tremblay said that MacNab will receive a call from the town to inform him that if he wants to go ahead with building an in-ground pool, he will have to hire a geotechnical specialist to determine if his land is stable enough to proceed with the project.

As for addressing the entire landslide issue that has plagued Chaline Valley residents for several years. Tremblay reiterated that as a result of the framework that was recently adopted, he reassured residents that the town is continuing to work diligently to resolve the problem.

“There is a solution, a plan, and a schedule,” said Tremblay. “We will meet with our citizens and explain to them what the plan is. There is a permanent solution. It will be presented in the fall and will highlight all the details and the timeframe when the work will be done.”

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