St. Lazare council holds first post-election meeting at new city hall
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Mayor Robert Grimaudo (centre) presides during the first session of council at its new venue at St. Lazare City Hall.
Mayor Robert Grimaudo presided over the first council meeting held at St. Lazare’s new city hall on Tuesday evening, November 21.
About 50 citizens crowded into the second floor council chamber as Grimaudo introduced re-elected Councillor Pamela Tremblay and the five new councillors – Geneviève Lachance, Martin Couture, Michel Poitras, Richard Chartrand and Brian Trainor.
Two procedural changes were announced by Grimaudo before the start of the council session. The first was that a microphone was no longer available when residents stood before council to address council during question period.
A microphone wasn’t needed because of the smaller venue, said Grimaudo. Everything went well for the first 30 minutes until people at the rear of the room complained they couldn’t hear some of the citizens when they asked questions.
Grimaudo quickly responded to the complaints and said a microphone and speakers would be available at the next session so that all citizens could properly hear the questions and answers.
Vote by show hands
The second change involved modifying the procedure to adopt each resolution on the agenda. The previous procedure required one councillor to propose a resolution for adoption and a second councillor to second the motion. The new protocol requires each councillor to raise their hands to show their support or opposition for each resolution.
Grimaudo said the change will provide greater transparency by allowing the public to see each councillor’s stance on every resolution during meetings. “Everyone told us they wanted greater transparency at council. We all discussed it and decided it was a good idea to adopt the new format,” said Grimaudo.
Chaline Valley Update
Resident Darryl Roberts asked whether work planned for Chaline Valley would proceed this winter. “The answer is no,” Grimaudo replied, stating that the details for the stabilization work have not been finalized yet.
“All the recommendations from the provincial Ministry of Public Security were supposed to have been submitted to us over the summer but they haven’t. It’s a delay on their part. We’re still waiting. When they eventually give us their recommendations we will have to meet with the 42 homeowners who will be directly affected by the stabilization work,” said Grimaudo.
Delay hampering progress
The delay is hampering efforts by the town to speak to affected homeowners about the modification work that will be required. It is also preventing the town from going to tender in preparation for the work which will be done during the winter season in 2018-19 as originally planned, added Grimaudo.
The individual interventions which will uniquely affect each property are necessary for Chaline Valley to lose its landslide zone designation, said Grimaudo. “The window of opportunity to get all the work done is 15 weeks over winter,” he said. Residents were also told during a public information meeting in March the stabilization work would be done next winter.
The provincial government has approved a $5.9 million subsidy to help defray the cost of the project and the town has already received $3 million.