• James Armstrong

Hudson’s new well project on track for year-end

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Approval of a land transfer for parkland in connection with Hudson’s Como Gardens’ housing development sparked discussion during the monthly council meeting.

The installation of a potable water well in Hudson is on track according to Mayor Jamie Nicholls who gave a ‘six-month progress report’ at the beginning of the monthly council meeting Tuesday, April 3. He noted the evening’s agenda contained an item dealing with the issue.

“As for the water issue, studies show that the aquifer in the region is doing fine,” said Nicholls adding the problem has been with the wells not functioning as they should. “Negotiations and discussions are underway for long term solutions to the water situation.”

Well site and access road

Council approved the resolution in question permitting the construction of an access road on a slope off Côte Saint-Charles to the site of the new well near Hillcrest Street. The clearing work for the road has to be completed before April 15 or after August 15 of this year to avoid interference with bird nesting activities. The resolution also covered the topic of obtaining authorization from the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) to carry out the exploratory work for the well including water sampling. The project has two drill sites: one for the well and the second to monitor the aquifer. The cost of constructing the road and site was set at $36,500 before taxes with funding provided by the Programme de la Taxe sur l’essence et de la contribution du Québec 2014-2018 (TECQ). In addition, council also approved a loan by-law of $85,000 for improvements to the well serving the Hudson’s Valleys sector.

Efficient water use

“We have had robust discussions at the caucus level about water issues,” said the mayor adding that council intends to develop a comprehensive water policy going forward. In a related issue, council approved a resolution raising the awareness for efficient water use to maintain the potable water supply above a critical level during the summer months when consumption rates are at their highest. Council reinstated temporary restrictions from June 1 to September 14, 2018.

“These kind of punitive measures are not what we want to continue with in the future,” said Nicholls. “We are looking at a range of options to prevent this from happening next year. Details of the restrictions are available on the town website.

Como Gardens’ development

A resolution concerning the transfer of money or land for parks regarding a housing development project on Como Gardens Street was also on the agenda. The resolution was referred to caucus for further discussion during the March meeting. The mayor briefly described how, with each new housing development, he has the choice of accepting 10 percent or more of the land space being developed for parkland or a monetary equivalent based on the finished value of the development. Council decided to accept the offer of land rather than money after extensive discussion.

Resident dissension

The subdivided land for the development runs in a narrow band parallel to Como Gardens Street opposite the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence (VSPCR) adjacent to a wetland area. The proposed development has been a contentious issue for many residents who raised their concerns during question period.

“Did anyone contact the Ministry of the Environment to see if the certificate of authorization was properly obtained?” asked Eva McCartney. Director General Jean-Pierre Roy responded that the developer has to provide the town with the certificate of authorization.

“Since it is his project, he has to verify that his certificate is valid,” added the mayor. Marcus Owen raised the issue of basement construction for the project and the possibility of constant pumping of water to keep them dry. Owen said the end result would likely drain the swamp.

“Until we see the actual plans, I can’t answer that question,” said Nicholls, adding the resolution of the evening dealt with the issue of transfer of land for parks.

Flood plain building prohibition

The proposed amendments to zoning By-law 526 prohibiting the construction of a main building in the low velocity 20 to 100-year flood zone plain were approved by council. Nicholls described the term low velocity as referring to the speed and action of the rising water in the 20 to 100-year flood zone as opposed to the high velocity 0 to 20-year flood zone where the action of the water would be faster. Questions were raised by June Penney regarding some of the details of the amendment including the construction of sheds and the use of backfilling. The mayor said the Urban Planning Department had to be consulted, as permits were required in all cases. The legislation prohibits all construction in the high velocity 0 to 20-year flood zone.

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