Letter to the editor 2, Feb. 15, 2018

Why a survey?

Dear Editor,

The mayor and council of St. Lazare have decided that a survey will be conducted during the summer of 2018, asking some 1,000 people whether Au Galop equestrian festival should be continued and how much should be spent on it, as well as asking residents’ opinions on the traffic circle, and the town revitalisation, but why?

Surveys are not part of our political process; we have official signings of ‘contestations’ and ‘referendums’ to obtain mandates on important matters. Surveys can easily be manipulated depending on the questions, the people being asked the questions, even the locations these people live in.

i.e. Ask a question about the traffic circle to people who live around Bédard/downtown corridor and the response will probably be more positive than the response from people in the East end or the West end of St. Lazare, because these people use Cité-des-Jeunes and Côte Staint-Charles to leave St. Lazare.

i.e. Ask a question about revitalizing downtown to people who live around the Bédard/downtown corridor and the response will probably be more positive than the response from people in the East end or the West end of St. Lazare, because shopping centers in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Rigaud, and Hudson are closer to these areas.

Is it the intent of the administration that the results of a $30,000 to $40,000 ‘survey’ will be interpreted by the mayor and council as a ‘strong mandate’ for the town to go ahead and spend $1.5 million on Au Galop during the next four years, or to spend $3 million on a traffic circle, or $12 million on revitalizing the downtown area? If that is the intent it would be undemocratic. If the administration really believes that residents of St. Lazare want Au Galop, a traffic circle and the revitalization of downtown, why not hold a referendum on each subject, giving those who want these projects the opportunity to democratically voice their approval?

Hopefully, if there is a democratic vote on Au Galop, a traffic circle and revitalization, there will be more than a one-day signing period, which was all that was allowed for the contestation of the new town hall. So why are St. Lazare taxpayers having to pay for a survey?

Alan Nicol

St. Lazare

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