• James Armstrong

Saint-Lazare’s Chaline Valley stabilization project moves forward

PHOTO BY MONIQUE BISSONNETTE

The stabilization project of the banks of the Quinchien River that meanders through the Chaline Valley is undergoing another step with upcoming geotechnical studies.

The long-term project aimed at stabilizing the slopes of Chaline Valley in Saint-Lazare took a step forward at the council meeting held Tuesday, June 12. Council approved a call for tenders for geotechnical studies to determine how to handle and control the materials being removed from the area during the project. Director of Communications Geneviève Hamel described the stabilization project as the largest in Quebec during an interview on Wednesday, June 13. The problem is slopes of land along the banks of the river that are at risk of sliding.

“The weight at the top of a slope is too great and its natural tendency is to move downward,” said Hamel. She pointed out that it is a clay based land zone subject to erosion and landslides similar to other areas across Quebec.

Geotechnical studies

“A slope reconfiguration project means taking out a lot of material,” said Hamel adding, “There are a lot of challenges with this site.”

She said original estimates indicated that 77,000 cubic metres of material needed to be removed from a total of 21 sites along the meandering course of the Quinchien River that flows along the bottom of Chaline Valley.

“Now we are up to 127,000 cubic metres. That represents approximately 12,000 trucks going in and transporting the stuff out,” she said.

“The next big problem is where we are going to put that stuff.” She said the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) has to make the plans for the slope cuts for each of the affected properties. The call for offers is to find an engineering company that would determine the best access points to the valley, which roads will be used, the cutting of trees, the reconfiguration of the slopes, and the planting of trees and other vegetation once the reconfiguration work is done. The 21 sites requiring stabilization affect 42 addresses in the Chaline Valley.

Environmental study

According to Hamel, the environmental study should begin within the next few weeks, once the firm hired by the town receives permits from the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC). Hamel described it as an in-depth study and assessment of the flora and fauna of the valley and aquatic life in the river.

Forgoing public consultation process

“We have asked the MDDELCC and the MTQ for an exemption from the public consultation process because it takes up to two years to have public input,” said Hamel. “It’s a security issue and we cannot delay the process for two years.”

She said the town was currently waiting for a response from the MDDELCC on that issue.

“We have a newsletter that residents subscribe to and we have had two information sessions,” said Hamel. The cost of the project was originally estimated at $8 million but Hamel said that amount had increased due to the increase in the size of the project.

Time frame

Actual work on the project is expected to begin in late 2018 or early 2019 and would likely continue for 15 months according to Hamel. It entails removing earth at the top of a designated slope and reinforcing the bottom of it with rock. Further details regarding the project are available on the Ville de Saint-Lazare website.

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