• John Jantak

Grimaudo reaffirms St. Lazare’s commitment to resolve Chaline Valley landslide issue


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo reiterated that the town is currently working with the provincial Ministry of Public Security to find a permanent solution to the Chaline Valley landslide issue.

The Town of St. Lazare asserted its pledge to help residents living in the Chaline Valley landslide zone as Mayor Robert Grimaudo reiterated that the town is working with the provincial Ministry of Public Security on a long-term solution that will be presented to residents this fall.

Grimaudo made the public statement during question period at the June 7 Tuesday evening council meeting in response to citizen concerns about the length of time it has taken for the town and provincial government to have finally reached a consensus on how to deal with the situation.

Chaline Valley resident Richard Meades, who first raised the issue publicly in 2011, continued to berate the town administration for not taking a more proactive approach in handling the matter during the past five years, saying that residents have been living with constant uncertainty about the possibility of landslides even though provincial government experts reported in 2012 that there was no imminent risk.

Meades also said many homeowners have also apparently been unable to sell their homes because potential buyers are reluctant to make a risky purchase as a result of the stigma attached to the houses that are within and surrounding the landslide zone.

Valerie Samson told council that Chaline Valley residents are also stigmatized because the landside issue means they have to take extra measures if they want to proceed with a major construction or renovation project.

Your Local Journal reported in its June 2 issue that Scott MacNab was told by town administrators that he would have to hire a firm to conduct geotechnical tests to ensure his ground was stable enough to build an in-ground swimming pool.

“When we chose to live in the sector, we chose it because of its tranquility and quality of life,” said Samson. “We didn’t realize we were buying a problem. It affects our quality of life because we can’t take decisions on our properties to improve its security and increase its value. It affects our fundamental right to do what we want on it.”

Samson feels it should be the town’s obligation to pick up the costs for any private geotechnical surveys because according to her certificate of location, it did not indicate that her home was located in the landslide red zone when she purchased it around 2008. MacNab said that his certificate of location also didn’t indicate his house was in the red zone when he purchased his home in 2010.

Grimaudo said the town would not provide any financial assistance for the private surveys and stated the town has been working diligently to find a solution. He added that with the information it has received from the Ministry of Public Security, the town will begin studies to determine which properties are most affected and the work that will be required to stabilize each house.

“We have work to do,” said Grimaudo. “How the work will be done, we don’t know yet. We’ll have to find out what kind of subsidies are available and how we would spend it. There are decisions that will be made in the next few months, but for now, we have limited information to make any decisions.”

Samson replied it seemed like she’s heard the same message from the mayor the past four years since Grimaudo was first elected in June 2012, but added that the town has done nothing specific since then to help Chaline Valley residents.

“We’ve been pushing this file for many years,” said Grimaudo. “We finally got a response from the provincial government. It’s a good thing because now the rules will be very clear as to what can and cannot be done. There are possible solutions but we don’t know what they are yet. With the help of the public security minister and with the information we will be providing them in the very near future, there will be a permanent solution.”

PULL - “We have work to do. How the work will be done, we don’t know yet. There are decisions that will be made in the next few months, but for now, we have limited information to make any decisions.” – St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo

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