Delayed solution for Hudson’s Pine Lake
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
The fate of Hudson’s Pine Lake and its dam project will be addressed in the next two years.
Hudson’s iconic and beleaguered Pine Lake was a subject for discussion at the regular monthly meeting of the Hudson Town Council on Monday, May 7.
“A solution for Pine Lake is in the works that includes the participation of academic partners but the timeline for the project extends at least until 2020,” said Mayor Jamie Nicholls during his introduction to the meeting. The mayor said Pine Lake would be one of the zones considered in the upcoming Master Plan for the town. “We have heard the residents of the (area around the) lake and their desires,” said Nicholls. “We request patience on this file. Good things take time.”
Vaillancourt Land Art Installation
The mayor also addressed the issue of the Land Art installation amongst the pine trees on Sandy Beach. The artwork created by Quebec artist Armand Vaillancourt and titled L’écran: mille fois pardon aux Premières Nations has done damage to the pine trees where it is suspended.
“I promised a while back that the piece would be taken down by May. That is still the intention but it must be done with respect for all parties, including the artist,” said Nicholls. The mayor reported that Parks and Recreation Director Nicolas Pedneault and Hudson Land Art Director Daniel Gautier met with Vaillancourt to discuss the future of the installation. Following that discussion, the town has decided to get an evaluation of how much the piece is worth.
“Given Vaillancourt’s long career, the piece could be worth up to $150,000 on the art market,” said the mayor. He added that negotiations are taking place with the Conseil des arts et de la culture de Vaudreuil-Soulanges to tour the piece around the region.
Damaged birch and pines
“It will come down, soon,” said Nicholls adding that the failure to protect the trees involved is the town’s fault. “I assume that responsibility and understand the anger. The natural assets of our town are of great importance and deserving of protection,” said the mayor noting that the town may own an artwork that is also an economic asset.
“Working as a team and subject to approval by council, we will be restructuring committees so they reflect best practices, provide stability and make the work of council more efficient,” said Nicholls. He noted there had been numerous proposals from councillors for added layers of transparency such as citizen roundtable discussions, committees comprised of citizen-experts that would oversee reports from committees and the possibility of open caucus meetings.
“I believe that citizens deserve not just token representation but full participation in our governance structure,” he said, “We cannot delegate our powers as elected officials… but there is surely a way forward to better include citizens in the civic discourse.”
Management letter publication
Resident Bill Nash asked the mayor, during the first question period, when the town intended to publish the management letter from the external financial auditors. The mayor said it would be published within the next six months with an accompanying note of explanation. Nash also queried what had happened regarding the auditors’ negative comments on the 2016 auditors report. Nicholls said he and members of council had met with the auditors regarding issues that need to be regularized internally. “There is still a lot of work being done on past audits,” said the mayor.
On a lighter note, Nash said he was glad to see that Treasurer Claudia Ouellette was present at the meeting although still in recovery from a recent illness.
“Who takes over when the treasurer is ill?” he asked. The mayor responded that no one takes over that position.
“In terms of reporting duties, she has been doing work from home,” said Nicholls. Regarding the signing of cheques, “Public Security delivered the cheques to her home for her to sign first and then I sign them. Maitre Roy does not act as our treasurer and cannot by law. I want to be very clear about that,” said Nicholls adding he was aware of the rumours circulating on social media.
“I am not authorized to sign cheques and I have never been the treasurer,” added Director General Jean-Pierre Roy.
Increase in road paving costs
Council approved an increase to the loan by-law issued in 2016 by the previous town council. The estimates for the cost of the work were made in 2015 and subsequent increases in prices of materials and gasoline made changing the by-law necessary. The original loan was $1,500,000 for paving work. The revised by-law authorizes a loan in the amount of $1,967,660.30. Resurfacing of certain sections of Birch Hill, Cameron, Fairhaven, Hilltop, Lower Whitlock, Main Road from Number 656 to 754, Melrose, Oakridge, Upper Whitlock, Ridge and Windcrest Streets is slated for this year. Council awarded the resurfacing contract to the lowest conforming bid submitted by the firm Meloche Division de Sintra. Nash raised concerns about the longevity of the road resurfacing.
“A 20-year life span is not bad for a road,” responded the mayor.