New mapping reveals enlarged landslide zones in St. Lazare and NDIP
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
(Left to right): Ste. Marthe Mayor Aline Guillotte, MRC Prefect and Mayor of Très-Saint-Rédempteur Jean Lalonde, and Saint-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo, along with other MRC officials and representatives from the provincial ministries of public security, sustainable development and municipal affairs, were present at a public information meeting to discuss new maps that show enlarged landside zones in Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot and Saint-Lazare.
A revised map compilation that shows enlarged landslide zones in Notre-Dame-de-l’Île Perrot and Saint- Lazare was unveiled by representatives from the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges during a public consultation meeting in the auditorium of the Marie-Uguay library in NDIP on Tuesday afternoon, October 25.
The meeting was held to present the actual maps and newly collected data of the affected areas to the public as part of a resolution that was adopted by the MRC in August called PROJET DE RÈGLEMENT NUMÉRO 167-20, a 23-page document that lists various conditions that homeowners have to adhere to before making any modifications or additions to their properties in their respective landslide zones.
MRC representatives were present to discuss the changes which have been incorporated into the MRC’s Schéma d'aménagement et de développement including MRC Prefect and Mayor of Très-Saint-Rédempteur Jean Lalonde, Sainte-Marthe Mayor Aline Guillotte and Saint-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo. Representatives from the provincial ministries of public security, sustainable development and municipal affairs were also present.
NDIP Mayor Danie Deschênes said while the landslide zone in her community has almost doubled in size to include city hall and surrounding areas, the entire municipality has been mapped and she doesn’t anticipate any new areas of concern to appear in the future.
The town has taken a pro-active approach regarding its landslide issue when concerns were raised by residents living around the Les Palissades de l’anse au sables development in 2013. The extent of the situation was carefully examined through additional geotechnical tests and the results prompted the town to ask for provincial subsidies to defray the costs homeowners would have to bear for the necessary stabilization work which is set to begin shortly.
Deschênes is reassuring residents in the new zone that there is no imminent danger of a landslide. While new construction is prohibited, residents will still be able to undertake modifications to their properties provided their plans are submitted to the town for approval. “It’s a minimal risk. It’s not like something is going to happen tomorrow morning,” Deschênes told Your Local Journal.
“As we’ve already told the citizens in the second zone, we’re going to go through the same process, ask for subsidies because people can’t afford the entire cost. Houses haven’t lost their value and citizens can build on their land provided they ask the city first. The only thing is that new houses can’t be built. It’s not as problematic in the first area. We’re really anxious to get the work done and we will keep people informed,” said Deschênes
The landslide zone in Saint-Lazare’s Chaline Valley was also expanded although the town didn’t have the figures on hand to indicate how many additional houses are affected, said Grimaudo, who also downplayed the landslide potential.
“Is Chaline Valley in imminent danger of a landslide? No. The new maps show that there still isn’t any danger. We now have more precise mapping which will make things more clear. Has the situation changed? Yes. The only thing that has changed now is the Minister of Public Security has said there is reason to look at stabilization solutions and now is the time to start looking at them.”
The town is still considering the kind of stabilization work that is necessary for Chaline Valley, although the municipality is not ready to begin any kind of work at this time. “The stabilization issue is a whole different issue,” said Grimaudo. “The reality is the MRC knows now that there has to be stabilization done. We’re working with them into the how’s and why’s and when’s regarding the stabilization.”
MRC Communications Manager Simon Richard said that while municipalities will have to adhere to the new Schéma regulations, it is up to each municipality to determine how best to approach the problem because of the unique topography in their respective areas.
A ministry official confirmed that soil erosion along the base of the Quinchien River in Saint-Lazare is a problem that could exacerbate the situation. The issue was raised by resident Constantinos Markakis who expressed concern that water flow from new developments could cause the river to rise further and result in more erosion.
“Right now we don’t know,” said Grimaudo, adding there’s no way to know what could happen or whether the spillover effect from the retention basins could impact the river until more studies are done.
“In the interim at the last council meeting, the town passed a resolution for some funds to do verifications on all the affected lots in Chaline Valley to see if it is feasible and necessary to maybe eventually bring in a sewage system to eliminate the septic tank weeping fields. This would be just a preventive measure,” said Grimaudo.
“The residents asked us to do something about this, to clarify the problem and help them understand and that’s what we’ve done,” Grimaudo added.