Rigaud council meeting round-up
PHOTO BY JULES PIERRE MALARTRE
Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald answers a resident’s concern over the preparedness of the city’s emergency plan in the event of a reoccurrence of last year’s flood.
The Rigaud Council held its first meeting of 2018 in its new city hall January 15 in front of a room filled with residents who braved the cold weather to attend.
Bringing municipal septic installations up to code
The council unanimously accepted a project for upgrading municipal septic installations that are not currently up to code. The cost of the project is split between expenses to the amount of $1,100,887.55 and a loan for the same amount. The city will approach financial institutions to obtain the best interest rate. The program will allow residents to upgrade their septic installations under the loan secured by the city. "The city will basically advance the funds to residents who want to avail themselves of that program," Marie-Andrée Gagnon, Director of Communications, explained.
Status of the Emergency Plan
A resident questioned council regarding the condition of the municipal emergency plan. “We had a plan already in place,” City Manager Chantal Lemieux answered. “The events of last spring allowed us to adapt it. We are presently working on the latest corrections and we will be ready when spring arrives.”
The resident went on to inform the council about the presence of water on Route 325. “My fear is that if this comes from the mountain, and that it is already overflowing roads, what will it be like this spring, or even this weekend with the predicted warmer weather? This is not a good start.”
Mayor Hans Gruenwald reassured the resident that the city was ready. “We have an emergency plan in place. This is the onset of climate change. Everything happens suddenly. We have to be ready to react,” Gruenwald stressed. The mayor added that investment in personnel and equipment were required to face such events. “We’d better get used to it, because that’s what the future looks like.”
Gruenwald added he was remaining positive about the coming spring and confident in the city’s management of any crisis.
Resident Alain Magnan questioned the mayor’s usage over the word ’react’.
“We need to act, not react,” Magnan said. Gruenwald clarified his statement, saying he used 'react' in the sense of organizing resources in order to meet any situation. “We don’t sit on our hands waiting for things to happen,” Gruenwald stressed.
While some attendees were concerned about the coming of spring, one other resident was actually anxious for the warmer season to arrive and get an early start on her community garden project. While the project is still under study by the city, the resident was hoping to get approval to start using a temporary plot this coming planting season. Mayor Gruenwald answered saying he was open to the idea and he informed the resident she should speak with the urbanism service.
Café de la débrouille
Normand Dion of Café de la débrouille asked for an update on the request for facilities to expand his community kitchen project. Café de la débrouille has been providing food support for those in need since 1992. Its current installations are not sufficient to meet the demand and the non-profit organization has asked the city for additional facilities. Mayor Gruenwald answered that the subject had actually been discussed at city hall earlier that day and that the council was in the process of drafting a response to Dion. Gruenwald would not provide details while the official response was still being prepared, but he indicated that the city’s answer was positive.
“Many volunteers and residents who depend on Café de la débrouille will be very happy to hear this,” Dion answered.
Forestry operations on Rigaud Mountain
Rigaud Mountain resident Jean-François Larin questioned the council regarding its position on the presence of forestry exploitations on Rigaud Mountain. Larin quoted the interim by-law that calls for the presence of plantations and other operations that increase the forest cover on Rigaud Mountain. “Someone decided that all forestry operations mean to exterminate the forest, destroy the forest cover, and that they should be prohibited,” Larin complained.
Mayor Gruenwald answered that the mission of the interim by-law was to protect the rights of residents, but also to protect the mountain. “We do not want to impinge on any resident’s rights, but we want to actively implant a desire to protect the mountain.” City Manager Lemieux added that a grandfather clause had been granted to two forestry exploitations located on the mountain.
“We simply said that no more (additional) forestry exploitations could be established on the mountain.”