• James Armstrong

Avian issues in Saint-Lazare


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

A Saint-Lazare resident is expressing concern that the community garden could be at risk of contamination from local fireworks displays.

Fireworks are not good for the birds, according to Saint-Lazare resident Benjamin Copithorne. He raised the issue during the Saint-Lazare Town Council meeting on Tuesday, June 12, asking that council consider moving the annual fireworks displays held in June to a different location. Copithorne said that currently, fireworks events in the town are held in the vicinity of the Community Centre and Library.

“I noticed last year in the area there were several dead crows, two ducks and multiple songbirds,” said Copithorne who lives in the vicinity. He said the combination of noise and the chemical composition of the smoke from the exploding fireworks appeared to have a negative effect on the immediate environment.

Environmental impact

His observations lead him to some research on the contents of fireworks and their impact on the environment. “The smoke contains a combination of sulphur, carbon, and other chemical products,” he said, noting a community garden was located within close proximity to the fireworks site and the plants and soil would absorb the chemicals.

“There are very few laws controlling what can be put in the fireworks,” he said. “Last year, they didn’t pick up any of the trash afterwards, so all of those contaminants were left on the ground.” Copithorne suggested moving the summer fireworks events to the same location as those held in January in Parc nature les Forestiers during the Fêtes des Neiges.

“I think it is too late to change the location this year,” responded Mayor Robert Grimaudo adding that council would definitely look at changing the location next year. The mayor thanked Copithorne for bringing the situation to council’s attention and asked him for a copy of his research.

Residential chickens in Saint-Lazare

Resident Richard Thorpe presented a petition to council asking they consider changing the rules to permit the raising of chickens on residential properties. Thorpe has been keeping six chickens on his land that is zoned residential for about a year. The problem started with a case of mistaken identity, according to Thorpe. “One of the chicks was mis-sexed, it turned out to be a rooster,” Thorpe told The Journal. The result was a noise complaint to the town regarding the rooster.

“I found him a new home,” said Thorpe of the problem’s resolution.

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Richard Thorpe’s residential hens have a reprieve while council prepares a by-law permitting urban chickens.

“The file is closed. It’s a non-issue,” said Grimaudo after the meeting. “The problem is the regulation we have in place states that farm animals are not allowed on residential properties. In the interim, council has agreed to look at a by-law project regarding chickens.”

The mayor estimated a regulation would be in place sometime in 2019. “Creating a by-law is a long process,” he said adding the town needs a chance to study what is being done in other towns. “The advantage for us is that we can see the pros and the cons.”

Several of Thorpe’s neighbours turned out in support of his chickens including Barbara Krzywoszanski. “They are part of the peace and serenity, they have a very calming sound,” she said, adding they also reduce the local insect population.

Bicycle and multi-purpose trails analysis

Council approved a contract with Vélo Québec Association to carry out an in-depth study of the town’s cycling trails. “They are going to analyze everything about the use of the trails, who is using them, where are they located, what the problems are,” said the mayor. “They are going to recommend different options for improving them to council.”

When asked if the cycling path would be extended from the centre of town along chemin Sainte-Angélique to chemin Saint-Charles, Grimaudo said he didn’t yet have the answer. “The reality is that it may not follow that route. There are different options available and the study will help us make those decisions,” he said, noting a proposed residential development where the two streets intersect could have an impact on the location of the trail. Vélo Québec is a non-profit organization with 50 years’ experience in producing reports and detailed maps of the Quebec cycling infrastructure.

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