Letter to the editor 7, June 15, 2017

St. Lazare priorities

Dear Editor,

I attended the June 6 council meeting at Saint Lazare and, once again, I left feeling disappointed and frustrated with our current city council. At this meeting, a resident mentioned he has had to endure a flooded basement twice. He is the owner of a brand new home built in 2014, and built according to the norms of the Régie du bâtiment. There is no problem with his house. It appears that every time there is severe rainfall, his family has to refrain from using water of any kind: no flushing of toilets, no showering or bathing, no washing of dishes or clothing. They do so to prevent having a flood in their basement.

The problem stems from a backflow problem with the town’s sewer system. There are residents in St Lazare who are illegally connecting their rain pipes to the sewer system, overwhelming the system and creating a backflow. This is an issue that has been around for a couple of years now.

This resident mentioned that he had contacted members of the council: the mayor and Director General, only to be ignored. Needless to say, he was feeling frustrated. The resident wanted to know when the issue was going to be resolved and instead of getting a straight answer, he was provided with an explanation of the problem. In addition, the attitude of the mayor and DG were far from empathetic: they were downright rude! There seems to be no progress made to improve the situation only the use of a temporary pump. What is being done with these residents who are illegally hooking themselves to the system? Cutting down trees is controlled and regulated by the use of permits and town employees are out and about to ensure that the permits are enforced, yet the illegal hookup to the town sewage system has gone undetected and unmonitored. I do not understand the priorities of the Saint Lazare municipal council.

Here is where my frustration continues: one of the key fields of jurisdiction of local municipalities according to ‘Municipal organization in Quebec’ is drinking water and sewage treatment. And although Community Development, recreation, and culture are listed, I feel like this current council places more emphasis on recreation than treating the very serious problem of water and sewage treatment. The money and energy that have been wasted on the ‘Au Galop’ festival is incredible. Not to mention the time and money invested on developing bicycle paths. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy using a bike path, but I think that resolving the issue of sewage backup is more important than organizing a festival and developing bike paths.

One of council’s main arguments for building their extravagant town hall was that of employee comfort. They implied that the employees were working under terrible conditions in the old building. I argue that this resident is living under extreme conditions and his concerns need to be addressed.

This town council needs to prioritize the real issues of this town: sinking houses and flooding. Only when these two issues are resolved should money be invested in promoting the town.

Joanne Ackland

St. Lazare

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