• James Armstrong

Saint-Lazare Mayor and DG accused by former town councillor


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Accusations flew and tempers flared when Saint-Lazare resident Lise Jolicouer confronted Mayor Robert Grimaudo during the council meeting on Tuesday over the du Fief housing development.

The proposed du Fief housing development was the hot topic during the monthly Saint-Lazare town council meeting held Tuesday, September 11. Former Town Councillor Lise Jolicoeur confronted Mayor Robert Grimaudo with the accusation that the project was being pushed ahead because of money. The mayor took exception to Jolicoeur’s accusation.

“She insinuated that I am somehow profiting from this project,” said Grimaudo after the meeting. “The only thing I will say on the record is that she showed complete disrespect. The accusations she made are extremely serious and disturbing. I will have to decide on how to respond to that.”

Anger and accusation

“I am very angry,” Jolicoeur told The Journal during a break in council proceedings. “They are pushing it (the project) to have more houses, to collect more money,” said Jolicoeur who ran as mayoral candidate in the 2017 municipal election against Grimaudo.

“I always thought they (council) would protect that area, especially with the Liber Ero report,” she said adding she had been accused by the Director General Serge Tremblay and the mayor of not presenting the report to them. The Liber Ero report is an environmental study of the Saint-Lazare area produced by the Department of Biology and Conservation of McGill University. It was presented to the town in December, 2016.

Council accepts environmental report

The report has been repeatedly cited by residents opposed to the du Fief development proposal regarding their arguments against development in respect to protecting wetlands, endangered species in the area, old growth forest and the need to protect wildlife.

“The report was never mandated by the town,” said Mayor Grimaudo. He added council would be approving a resolution later in the meeting that would recognize the report as an official document of the town. However, the resolution specifies that any questions regarding the content of the report should be directed to its authors and editors. Council unanimously passed the resolution and said the report will be made available on the town’s website in both official languages.

Opposition from residents

Several residents, including Corry Terfloth and Rachel Solyom, questioned the mayor and council on their positions regarding the du Fief development project. “We are addressing all of the questions raised in the last two months,” said Grimaudo adding, “No approvals have been given. The promoter has asked to meet with council to discuss what changes can be made to satisfy citizens.”

Concerns about protecting the du Fief area as a source of potable water were also raised. The mayor responded that council would be meeting later in September with the firm that had carried out the study of the area pertaining to underground water. “Council will make the decision as to whether or not another study needs to be done, when the time comes,” he said.

Chaline Valley project

Resident Darrell Roberts asked the mayor when the Chaline Valley stabilization project would begin. The mayor said the administration had met with provincial government officials and the $5.9 million project was going forward.

“The reality is that we went to tender for the project and no one replied,” said Grimaudo noting it’s the largest stabilization project in Quebec. He said the town would be engaging professional services to help with the engineering details of the project before issuing a new call for tenders. According to the mayor, the project will likely begin in November and an information meeting will be organized for the residents of Chaline Valley at that time.

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