Letter to the editor 5, Nov. 24, 2016
St. Lazare Infrastructure
St. Lazare has three or four new developments presently under construction, which will add more than 1,000 new homes to the area within the next couple of years, meaning an additional 3,000 to 4,000 people requiring services, such as sewers, water, schools, grocery stores, etc. and an estimated an additional 900,000 to 1.25 million liters of water will be required every day, from our already-stressed water system. (Based on Canada-wide, 2011 Municipal Water Use Report).
One thousand new homes will mean 1,000 to 1,500 more cars using St. Angelique, and other roads in St. Lazare, which are already congested in the mornings, evenings and weekends. Approximately 1,000 to 1,500 new children will require places in daycares or schools and, with limited schools in the area, more school buses will be on the roads to transport them to other locations. During the run-up to this by-election on September 25, only one candidate in District 4, Marc Esculier is talking about the issues that really need to be addressed.....Water... Sewers... Traffic...
The present administration does not have infrastructure as its priority, they are building “castles in the sky” with their ill-timed, presently under construction luxury $10 million Town Hall, the recently completed Fire Station at $5 million, $2 million for two years on Au Gallop, increased employees and payroll costs, plus more than $2 million for an expensive, high-maintenance pond (Dune Lake).
All of these projects add to the town’s debt and none of these projects do anything to make St. Lazare residents’ lives better or easier, the exception being the new fire station.
St. Lazare is a wonderful place to live, but every town has its limits as to how much it can provide - safe drinking water, infrastructure, roads, schools, etc. at a reasonable cost.
The present administration of St. Lazare seem to be giving out building development permits with little, if any, public plans for upgrading the existing infrastructure, or it seems, any intent in fixing the critical infrastructure in the downtown area, within the foreseeable future. The town needs to ‘put the brakes’ on any more development, and get comprehensive feasibility studies done by third-party experts regarding the limited capacity of St. Lazare services, water, sewers and roads, before giving any more developers the go-ahead, to use all of our local parks and green spaces for uncontrolled development.
There are already water shortages, restrictions and problems, so with 1,000 more homes, who knows what will happen? Drainage on side streets, in the downtown area, is a very serious problem. At the end of some streets, pumps are used on a regular basis by town workers to help with this unacceptable situation. Band-Aids are applied on a weekly basis to serious problems, therefore infrastructure should have been a priority. There are already weekly sewer pipe backups.
More development and more houses will mean more frequent sewer backups, so something will certainly ‘hit the fan’ in the downtown area, sometime in the future.
St. Angelique needs to be widened for increasing traffic flow, traffic lights will need to be added a critical places around the town, the bicycle path on St. Angelique needs to be totally separated from the road in order to protect cyclists, young and old.
The town of St. Lazare needs to take care of the infrastructure needs for its existing residents, before building ‘Castles in the Sky’ and letting developers take away our remaining green spaces, at what could be a very high cost to our present way of life in St. Lazare.