Letter to the editor 2, Sept. 21, 2017

Responsible Governance

Dear Editor,

During the past five years, St. Lazare seems to have been ‘going easy’ on contractors and developers by not adapting building by-laws relative to local happenings.

St. Lazare has had more development in the last five years than ever before, with 1180 building permits given out, all done without any significant improvements in essential infrastructure such as road widening, easing traffic congestion around the town centre, overflowing drains and inadequate sewage treatment, or upgrading building codes. Chaline Valley landslide risks were known by the town since 2008, but no by-law changes. ‘Sinking houses’ in numerous locations known by the town pre-2012, with possibly hundreds of homes in St. Lazare sinking due to the soil, but no by-law changes.

In the H300 development, between condos there is only a 1-inch fibreglass ‘fire retardant’ divider, not a concrete ‘fireproof’ divider. After five connected condos were lost in a 2016 fire, no by-law changes. H300 homes are being built in close proximity to the sewage treatment plant and houses are planned within 125m of the sewage lagoons, but no by-law changes Maybe these situations meet existing provincial building laws, but St. Lazare has too many of these accumulated problems that needed immediate solutions, but no by-laws have been modified to remedy this.

One would have expected a responsible administration to eliminate the possibility of more sinking houses by demanding a ‘plate test’ or compaction test with the issuance of every building permit. At $3500, this test determines if the soil will support houses without future sinking but is left to the developer.

A responsible administration should have eliminated the possibility of another fire spreading from one condo to another in H300, by passing a by-law to force the contractors to build a concrete fire proof divider between each unit. A responsible administration should have eliminated the possibility of further landslide risk by not using the Quinchen River as an open sewer for 4 million litres/day of sewage water. Not really ‘Transparent and Responsible Governance.’ Changing bylaws requires research and expertise to write, but if the administration can spend $2.5 million on Au Galop, $100K on artwork for proposed downtown revitalisation, $10 million plus on a new town hall, $3 million on Dune Lake, $1.5 million on bicycle paths, etc. the responsible solution would have been to pass by-laws, even if temporary, to protect St. Lazare homeowners’ investment and potential homeowners from such emotional and financial disasters.

Maybe the next administration will do something?

Alan Nicol

St. Lazare

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