Rigaud mulls flooding cost issues not covered by the province


PHOTO BY JULES-PIERRE MALARTRE

At the November 13 council meeting, Rigaud resident Jean Ménard expressed concern over who would have to pay the 30 per cent portion of the costs associated with flooding damages not covered by the provincial government.

The Rigaud Municipal Council held its monthly meeting November 13, the first since the recent elections that saw the return of all councillors from the previous term with the exception of Yannick Sauvé who did not seek re-election in District 1. Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. and all six councillors were sworn in at the beginning of the council meeting. “The first council meeting of a new four-year term. It’s great that we are still here,” Gruenwald said following the swearing-in.

Flood cost questions

During the first question period at the beginning of the meeting, resident Jean Ménard questioned Gruenwald regarding how the remaining 30 per cent of the flooding costs not covered by the provincial government would be absorbed.

“I heard you were considering having the flood victims foot the bill for the 30 per cent portion of the cost that the government would not cover,” Ménard said.

“I said that the council would rule on how the city was going to absorb the 30 per cent,” Gruenwald answered. “In Rigaud, we use a sectorial taxation system. If we have to change the taxation system, it is up to the council to rule on it. We haven’t had the time yet to review this matter. This is one of the reasons why we have delayed the budget until mid-January in order to have the time to review all possibilities.”

Ménard expressed concern for people living in a flooded sector but whose property had not been damaged, who might end up being hit by the 30 per cent leftover costs. Gruenwald added that this 30 per cent option had to be obtained somehow, but it had not yet been decided how. “What worries me is that certain areas might end up being taxed over and over again after each new catastrophe,” Ménard added. Gruenwald agreed, saying this is the reason why they needed time to review all possibilities.

Street sweepers

Some residents brought up the use of street sweepers following Mayor Gruenwald’s comment that the current sweeping machine was only going to be used on streets with cement curbs. “The way those sweepers work can damage lawns. The brushes are made out of steel bristles. They will literally rip off the grass,” Gruenwald explained. The mayor mentioned that the city was looking into using another type of machine that could be used safely on streets without a curb.

Sustainable development

General Manager Chantal Lemieux reminded attendees of the upcoming public consultations on sustainable development. “We really need you to participate. Presently, participation is not sufficient. Having a discussion with only five people is not enough. We need people for the consultation to carry power. We need at least 30 people per period," Lemieux said. "You don’t need special training; you can talk about what you see in Rigaud; what you wish for Rigaud, and what you don’t want, so that you can have an influence on the plan." The consultations will be held November 21 (7 to 10 p.m.) and December 2 (9 a.m. to noon) at the Paul Brasseur building, 10 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street east.

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