Letter to the editor 2, August 10, 2017
We can expect the next two St. Lazare council meetings to be lively due to a municipal election in early November 2017. The August council meeting was entertaining, to say the least, when two specific questions from residents raised the tension level.
Richard Meades, one of the two ‘crusaders’ who brought the Chaline Valley landslide risk to the public’s attention, and also helped convince Municipal and Provincial authorities to do something which would resolve the problem, was frustrated enough to ask the following. Mr. Meades stated that after an official Quebec report was made four years ago regarding the risk of landslides in Chaline Valley, and the subsequent residents’ meetings with Quebec and St. Lazare authorities, the initial report has still not been released to the residents, or the public. Mr. Meades asked why the report has not been made public even though St. Lazare has committed to spending $2 million to fix the problem, and stated that residents cannot sell their houses, plus many are still worried as to why information is being kept from them as it may be putting them and their homes at risk.
Mayor Robert Grimaudo’s response to Mr. Meades’ request for a copy of that report was, “Mr. Meades you are beating a dead horse, I have told you St. Lazare does not own the report.” So no report is expected to be issued, even though a 102-signature petition was presented to the town and an Access to Information request was made 5 months ago. Note: The Quebec report of the Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot landslide risk was made public to the affected residents about three years ago, but St. Lazare residents are still unaware of what the Chaline Valley landslide report contains.
Another resident questioned why some councillors received large amounts of money for ‘participating on committees’ in 2014 and 2015. The resident quoted amounts paid to some councillors who did not have much to say in response, but Mayor Grimaudo stated, “this is a witch hunt.”
When the Mayor asked the resident where he got this information, he was told that it was obtained from ‘Access to Information from the Town Clerk of St. Lazare.’ The words, “This is a witch hunt” were repeated three or four times during the exchange, but no explanation was forthcoming.
If this is a sample of the buildup to the November municipal election, we are certainly in for some interesting exchanges in the September and October council meetings.