• Carmen Marie Fabio

Pine Lake update – more waiting


YLJ FILE PHOTO/JAMES ARMSTRONG

Pine Lake has remained untouched since the breach of the dam in the spring of 2014 and the town is hoping it will finally receive the needed Environment Ministry feedback before the end of the year in order to move forward.

Though the previous iconic man-made Pine Lake now stands overgrown with brush, its water level reduced to a trickle, the Town of Hudson has completed the necessary environmental research and is presently waiting for feedback from the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, Faune et Parcs (MDDEFP) before deciding its next move.

“For all intents and purposes, Pine Lake is at a standstill right now,” said Mayor Ed Prévost. “We have other priorities affecting the town. The most glaring issue right now is the condition of the roads. That requires money that’s being retained by MAMOT (Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Occupation du territoire) because of a complaint by a citizen.” Prévost explained the town had filed for a loan by-law for road paving and after receiving the complaint, their internal protocol dictates they must investigate, thus delaying the process further.

Committee report

The committee formed to study the Pine Lake dossier submitted their findings to the town and it’s accessible on the Ville de Hudson website at hudson.quebec/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Pine-Lake-Scenarios-report-en.pdf. The 22-page document contains historical data on the lake’s inception by local residents in the 1940s to, “… create a recreational amenity. The dam also altered the normal flow of the Viviry River and functioned as a flood control structure during intense rainstorms and periods of rapid snowmelt in spring.” It notes that over the years, the build-up of sediment compromised both the environmental health of the lake and the structural integrity of the dam. It also notes that taking climate change weather fluctuations into account, the dam, designed and built in the 1990s, cannot simply be replaced as the engineering norms have changed substantially.

Legal distinction

“It used to be an artificial lake,” said Prévost. “Now it’s considered a wetland.” This distinction leads to the involvement of the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) whose mandate includes the management of all waterways in the region.

Hudson Director General Jean-Pierre Roy said the MDDEFP has asked the report be translated to French before it will make any recommendations on the file.

Outcome scenarios

The committee report offers six potential scenarios including leave it in its present condition; remove the old dam; repair the dam and restore the lake; build a new dam and restore the lake with flood control; build an earthen dam and restore the lake with less flood control; and restore the dam and divert the creek to enter the Viviry River below the present dam site.

“With the input of the MDDEFP, we’ll choose a solution and try to put it in place,” said Roy, adding the final decision will take into account the town’s budget and the possibility of securing a government grant. A September 2014 registry on a $750,000 loan by-law to fix the dam was overwhelmingly rejected by the residents. Some residents at the time said the amount was excessive though council said it was a worst-case-scenario amount and included unforeseen expenses associated with dredging, and hydrological and government-driven studies.

“Restoring the lake is very compatible with the mission statement of the town,” Roy told Your Local Journal this week. “It brings in tourism and (connects) to the nostalgia of the past.”

The town is hoping to have a response from the provincial government in the next few months.

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