• John Jantak

Michel Lambert makes second attempt to be St. Lazare mayor


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Running a second time for mayor of St. Lazare, Michel Lambert is running under the Alliance St. Lazare political banner while all the other contenders are running as independents.

Michel Lambert is hoping his second consecutive bid to become St. Lazare mayor is successful after being defeated in the 2013 municipal election.

Lambert is running under the Alliance St. Lazare political banner, the only mayoral or council candidate to do so, because he feels it’s important to have some sort of political affiliation even though all the other contenders are running as independents.

This doesn’t imply that the elected councillors would have to adhere to the policies of Alliance St. Lazare if he is elected, Lambert told Your Local Journal during an interview last Thursday, October 19. He said he wants to work with independent thinkers who are willing to contribute their own ideas.

New city hall critic

Lambert, who served one four-year term as councillor after the 2009 election, has been a vocal critic of what he feels was wasteful spending for an extravagant city hall. He said the current price tag doesn’t include the cost of new furniture and other amenities.

The town could have built a more modest structure to meet current requirements instead of anticipating future growth, said Lambert. “We should build according to our needs. We could have had a nice city hall for about $3 million. Ormstown recently opened their new city hall and it only cost them $1.8 million and $900,000 came from a provincial subsidy,” he said.

While St. Lazare’s city hall opened for business at the end of August, Lambert is dismayed that plans for the public to officially tour the building will only happen after the election. He alleges this is being done intentionally for political reasons regarding the social media outcry regarding the cost and scale of the project.

Festival au Galop

The reportedly more than $2 million cost of the Festival au Galop over the past three years has also dismayed Lambert who feels the town is unnecessarily squandering money. “There are things we need and other things we don’t need. We don’t need this festival,” said Lambert.

He said the residents he’s spoken with have told him they don’t want it. “Instead, we would reintroduce the annual Fête au St. Lazare. It would be held in early summer between the Fête Nationale and Canada Day holidays. It wouldn’t cost us anything,” Lambert said.

Proposed roundabout

Lambert would also cancel the proposed roundabout planned for the intersection of Chemin St. Louis and Avenue Bédard after the election. A better option would be to build new right turn lanes and have a set of traffic lights with a motion detector which would cost considerably less than a traffic circle, he said.

When a car approaches from St. Louis, the detector would automatically sequence the traffic light to turn red on Bédard allowing for a smoother flow of traffic, said Lambert. The savings could be used to help provide additional subsidies for families that would allow their children to participate in organized sports, he added.

Property tax freeze

Residents would receive a two-year property tax freeze if Lambert is elected mayor, he said. “When I ran in the 2013 election, I was the only candidate who was talking about the town’s finances. Taxes have increased 30 per cent in five years. People are fed up,” said Lambert.

Some residents have complained to city council about the financial strain they’re under as a result of the annual increases. “People need a break,” he added.

Lambert is relying on word of mouth to spread word about his candidacy, saying it’s impossible to knock on more 7,000 doors. When he meets with people, he chats with them and urges them to tell their acquaintances.

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