• John Jantak

Hudson residents concerned about inadequate conservation policy


Hudson residents listen to a presentation during a citizen-run public meeting held to discuss upcoming by-law changes to accommodate the town’s revised urban development plans.

Continuing concerns about the upcoming scale and scope of proposed development within Hudson drew about 35 people to the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre last Thursday evening, May 18, to a citizen-run public meeting to discuss upcoming by-law changes to accommodate the town’s urban development plans.

Architect resident Chloe Hutchison has been one of many outspoken residents regarding the upcoming by-law changes for future urban development within the town that could drastically change the face of the community unless a thorough conservation policy is included and implemented as part of a complete package.

“We’ve gone through this a couple of years ago where most of the changes being proposed in the urban plan were, strangely enough, in areas where developers have been looking to augment density in order to make the issue higher profits,” Hutchison told Your Local Journal.

“At this point, they have gone back to the drawing table and apparently have put in place a conservation plan which is currently in the hands of the provincial Ministry of Environment and it could take several readings before it considered a plan that the ministry can work with,” Hutchison added.

According to Hutchison, neither the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges nor the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC) requires an approved finalized conservation plan as long as one has already been started.

“All of this is a little bit irritating because we’re being pushed to densify zones and told that it’s a sustainable plan from the MMC,” said Hutchison. “It’s supposed to be about a balance between development, environment, and smarter infrastructure development. Meanwhile, it feels like a big open door for developers to pounce on the situation and go into places that should be saved for future generations.”

Another concern shared by Hutchison and other residents is that when the revised urban development by-laws are adopted at a future council meeting, citizens will not be able to vote against them in a referendum. “The sooner the town conforms to a higher planning body, it bypasses the right to a referendum,” she said.

“Our concern is that most people don’t understand what the CMM or the urban plan is about and they don’t understand what these changes are all about. The town hasn’t made enough of an effort to communicate with its residents to explain what’s happening and why it’s happening. Why is Hudson in such a hurry to push this forward?” asked Hutchison.

“I want the town to consider that it’s not just a handful of what they like to call us, ‘angry mob residents’ where we get together and say ‘no’ to everything,” said Hutchison. “We would like them to consider there are larger implications here especially in view of the climate situation and the flood we just went through. The CMM will be revising their urban plan because of this so why are we in such a hurry?”

Resident Jamie Nicholls, who recently announced his candidacy for mayor of Hudson, took to the podium at the beginning of the meeting to promote the Charrette model as an efficient method for urban planning that could be used as a possible alternative to the current process.