Residents fear complying with master plan could change the face of Hudson


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Residents were given an opportunity to meet the Heartbeet of Hudson on Monday, May 1, with Farm Directors Rébecca Phaneuf-Thibault (left) and Loïc Freeman-Lavoie.

Proposed amendments to zoning by-laws drew the attention of Hudson residents at the Monday, May 1 town council meeting. At issue were notices of motion pertaining to the planning and land use program and reforming the by-laws to comply with the revised land use program of the Municipalité Régionale de Comté de Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS).

The five by-laws being amended are 688-2017, 689-2017, 690-2017, 691-2017 and 692-2017. Public consultation meetings are planned for Tuesday, May 23 for the first three by-laws and Tuesday, May 30 for 691-2017 and 692-2017. The sessions will be held at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre at 7 p.m.

“Why are we making these changes to the zoning by-laws?” asked resident Rodney Birrell of Urban Planning Department Director Nathalie Lavoie. Birrell said many of Hudson’s unique characteristics as a town are part of the current zoning.

Lavoie replied the changes were required to comply with the MRC-VS master plan and that the pressure was on to make the changes. Birrell asked if this meant the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) area population requirements would apply.

“In the TOD area it is 40 units per hectare in a radius of one kilometre from the train station,” Lavoie replied adding everything would be explained in detail at the consultation meetings. In the meantime, she invited him to meet with her regarding any questions he might have concerning the by-law amendments.

Agricultural development

Members of Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm made a short presentation at the beginning of the meeting. The Town of Hudson is supporting the Heartbeet with a five-year land lease of a piece of vacant property adjacent to the dog park on Main Road opposite Thompson Park. Farm Directors Rébecca Phaneuf-Thibault and Loïc Freeman-Lavoie along with Robyn Rees General Manger for the Hudson Food Collective were in attendance.

“It was very important to us as we created this project that the farm has to be able to stand on its own two feet,” said Freeman-Lavoie emphasizing the importance of the sale of the Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) baskets. Membership in the CSA plan provides 18 weekly baskets of produce from July to October. Phaneuf-Thibault and Freeman-Lavoie were available to answer questions after the council meeting.

Apology given

“I would like to apologize to all the members of the print media that attend and report on all our council meetings and town events and are always here for us,” said Councillor Deborah Woodhead. “They are always there to keep our citizens informed. I would like to apologize for the disparaging comment I made at the last council meeting (Monday, April 3) and say how much I appreciate the members of the media who care enough to come to our meetings and report on them.”

Flooding and sandbags

During his comments at the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Ed Prévost said assistance was being supplied to those residents affected by the rising Ottawa River. He said a comprehensive plan developed by the fire department was being followed and that sandbags were available from the Public Works Department.

“Thank you for coming to our aid in the west end,” said resident Daren Legault adding that, unfortunately, the water was coming back up. Legault commended the fire department and the security patrol for their assistance in the ongoing situation. He also thanked the community for their outreach and offers of assistance.

Resident Austin Rikely-Krindle raised the issue of building homes along the river particularly in designated flood zones.

“Should we really be considering building along the waterfront if we are experiencing this kind of flooding?” he asked adding that it could get worse in the future. Councillor Natalie Best replied she had attended the Al Gore Climate Reality project and is aware of that possibility.

“All those things are taken into consideration…we know there are issues along the waterfront,” she said adding there was no point in speculating until everything was mapped.

Hacking of computer systems

The mayor reported that a hacker had compromised the computer information system regulating the town water. According to Prévost, the water supply itself was not affected and the administration is dealing with the situation.

“It’s not uncommon for municipalities to be targeted by this sort of thing,” he said adding that the hacker usually demands a ransom to repair the problem.

“We have no inclination to pay any ransom to anybody,” said Prévost.

Youth summer jobs

Best reported the Town of Hudson is directly benefiting from the federal government grants program for youth totaling $18,000. That number increases to $80,000 funding when all of the recipient organizations across the community are included.

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