Over 100 Chaline Valley residents ask St. Lazare to release provincial ministry landslide report
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
St. Lazare resident Richard Meades prepares to deliver an access to information request signed by 102 Chaline Valley residents to Mayor Robert Grimaudo asking the town to release a report from the provincial Ministry of Public Security regarding the current landslide situation in the district.
An access to information request containing the names, addresses, and signatures of 102 Chaline Valley residents requesting the release of a provincial Ministry of Public Security report regarding the landslide potential in the area, was given to St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo during question period at the Tuesday evening council meeting, February 7.
Resident Richard Meades presented the access to information request on behalf of the residents directly to Grimaudo, along with a copy of a provincial Ministry of Public Security report regarding the landslide potential in Notre-Dame de l’Île Perrot (NDIP), saying it was time that St. Lazare provide complete information regarding its situation to all affected residents.
Meades added that the NDIP report was included with the access to information request, to illustrate how easy it was to obtain information about a similar situation in another town whereas St. Lazare officials seem to be reluctant to provide information regarding Chaline Valley.
“We’d like to know what’s going on in Chaline Valley. It’s been far too long that this has been kept secret. The stigma affects the whole area,” said Meades who added that a house within the slide zone is apparently shifting and requires stabilization.
The nine page report that was submitted to the town from the public security ministry provides an updated assessment of the current landslide potential in Chaline Valley similar to a report that was issued exclusively for NDIP.
Meades said he’s frustrated that by not releasing the report, St. Lazare officials are showing a lack of transparency. He noted that when an access to information request was deposited to obtain a copy of the ministry report specific to NDIP, the request was processed almost immediately.
The lack of action by St. Lazare officials to release its report has caused Meades and residents to speculate whether the town is trying to intentionally hide the seriousness of the landslide potential, an assertion that Grimaudo and Director General Serge Tremblay completely refuted.
“When there was a report that had good news that there was no imminent danger, you were more than glad to release it. Now that there’s a report (that) probably has bad news in it, you don’t want to release it because you might actually have to do something to fix it and make sure nothing ever does happen,” said Meades.
“That’s your opinion,” said Grimaudo. ““That report does not belong to us. We cannot release it without the authorization of the Ministry of Public Security.”
St. Lazare DG Tremblay agreed with Grimaudo’s assessment, noting that town officials were set to meet with provincial public security representatives February 8 to discuss the contents of the report. Tremblay added the report is highly technical and the meeting would explain details specific to Chaline Valley.
When Meades mentioned that NDIP seemed more proactive in getting their landslide issue resolved, Grimaudo replied, “That’s a whole different situation. They were established as a zone in imminent danger.
“You know about the complexity of the issue (in Chaline Valley),” said Grimaudo. “I think you understand and I think you said it yourself, more has been done in the last few years than 10 years previously.”