• James Armstrong

Saint-Lazare residents want changes to proposed housing development


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Rachel Solyom and her neighbors pressured council with a barrage of questions as they presented their petition to make changes to a proposed housing development plan.

Residents from the vicinity of Sainte-Angélique and du Fief Roads presented a petition to the City of Saint-Lazare during the regular town council meeting held Tuesday, July 10. The petition urges council to consider four key issues regarding a proposed housing development in the sector that is zoned as agricultural/equestrian (AE) northwest of the city centre.

“We are not against development of the sector,” said Rachel Solyom as she presented the petition. ”If there is to be development, then it has to be intelligent, sustainable and at a minimum it must be consistent with the rules and regulations that have been put in place to protect ecological, cultural and social values.”

Contents of the petition

A copy of the petition given to The Journal raises four main points of concern – that the aquifer in the area is capable of supplying potable water for an increased number of private wells; that current lot sizes do not conform with the minimum square metres required by city regulations; that there be fewer vehicular access points to the development, and the proposed horse trail be changed to link with existing horse trails in the area.

“We do not believe that the current development plan meets these basic thresholds,” said Solyom.

“This is a question period and I have no issue with you asking questions regarding this,” responded Mayor Robert Grimaudo adding that council would review the petition and accompanying documentation. “As far as I am aware, the developer has complied with the regulations, and has acquired rights. I believe he is currently waiting for approval from the Ministry of the Environment.”

Potential potable water problems

Several residents from the area attested to the increasing difficulty of maintaining existing wells as many of them have gone dry in recent years and had to be dug deeper. They proposed increasing the current lot size of most of the development from 7430 square metres to a minimum of 10,000 square metres to help alleviate the problem. It is also the minimum size required for a horse farm.

Road safety issues

According to the information provided by residents, the three access roads for the project opening onto du Fief Road that were approved by the town will increase traffic flow on compromising the safety of children, equestrians and horses, and residents in the area. It was suggested that previously allocated land for a road giving access to Saint-Angélique Road for development would be more desirable.

Response from city and developer

“We have already had two meetings the group of citizens on du Fief,” the mayor told The Journal following the meeting. “We already knew most of the questions but we didn’t have the official document we were presented this evening.” When asked how discussions were proceeding between the city and the developer, the mayor declined to comment.

The developer, Réjean Pilon, president of Excavation & Construction ABR Ltd. was also present at the meeting. When asked if he was willing to make any of the changes proposed by his neighbours such as increasing the lot size, Pilon replied that the lots had been determined in the 1980s. “If there are changes to be made, then we will have to discuss that with the city,” he said noting that it would be an expensive proposition.

Chaline Valley

Council approved a resolution permitting Hydro Québec and telecommunication service providers such as Bell Canada and Videotron to relocate cables and poles on the east side of Chaline Road. The equipment has to be moved to allow for the stabilization work that needs to be done to reduce the risk of landslides in the valley. Resident Richard Meades, whose property is affected by the work, asked if moving the services would affect the certificates of location for the properties in question.

“It’s a very interesting question but I don’t think it will affect the certificates,” responded Grimaudo. On Wednesday, July 11 the city issued a statement to advise residents affected by the changes of the work. The maximum cost of moving the services was estimated at $37,023.31.