• James Armstrong

Protest against housing development continues in Saint-Lazare


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Environmentalist David Fletcher emphasized the urgent need for sustainable development in Saint-Lazare.

Saint-Lazare residents and non-residents filled the town’s council chamber to capacity on Tuesday, October 9. Many of them lined up at the microphone during question period to express their concerns regarding a proposed housing development in the area known as du Fief roughly bordered by Saint-Angélique Road, Highway 201 and du Fief Road in the western part of the town.

Sustainable development policy

David Fletcher, a member of the Green Coalition and a resident of Roxboro in the West Island of Montreal, was given permission to speak by Saint-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo.

“The bar is continually being set higher, given the urgency of mitigating climate change and there is a clear linkage between biodiversity and biomass with respect to contributing to the reduction of greenhouses gases and emissions,” said Fletcher. He urged council to create a sustainable development policy and pointed out the need to restore degraded ecosystems as well as protecting healthy ones.

“Is your council prepared to study the issues of sustainability and create a landmark policy for the area?” asked Fletcher.

“No, we don’t have a sustainable development policy,” responded the mayor adding he recognized a necessity to develop such a plan.

Characterization study for du Fief

In a similar vein, several residents raised the issue of a characterization study of the du Fief area including its biodiversity, subterranean water resources, and its importance as a link in the wildlife corridor connecting Sainte-Marthe, Rigaud, and Saint-Lazare.

“These questions have all been asked before, but I don’t mind answering them again,” said Grimaudo referring to previous monthly council meetings.

“Why is the future of that area up to a developer?” asked resident Linda Glasgow. “Why isn’t the town setting the precedent?”

“Our interest is to protect the interest of the town,” said Grimaudo. He noted the developer had requested a meeting with the town to present new plans and a new vision for the project. “When we have the answers, we will give them to you,” he said.

Several residents pressed the point regarding carrying out a characterization study of the area, reiterating it had been indicated as needed by the town’s conservation plan. The mayor replied it could be done if council approved the expenditure.

Mon Village development

Council approved a resolution requesting further information from the developers of the Mon Village project. The town is asking for a comprehensive analysis of the project on vehicular and cyclist traffic on Côte Saint-Charles, a plan for conserving the forest cover in the area, and written documentation providing all the information concerning waste water treatment and how sludge will be managed, plus a written description of the potable water supply for the project including municipal water and private wells. “It’s a self-sustaining residential and commercial project,” said the mayor. Located on a piece of property on the east side of Highway 40 at the intersection of Côte Saint-Charles, the project will include the current Mon Village Restaurant, according to the mayor.

Ski trail tree cutting

Council approved a contract for tree cutting along the cross-country ski trails in Parc-Nature-Les Forestiers-de-Saint Lazare. According to the resolution, the work is necessary because the trees are encroaching on the trails.

“The amount of trees originally identified was reduced by 40 or 50 percent,” said the mayor after the meeting. “We revised the entire plan, identified trees that are not well and those that are in the way.” When asked if replacement trees would be planted, the mayor confirmed, “We will be planting trees.”

Quebec Special Winter Olympics

In other business, council approved an agreement to lease the cross-country ski trails in Parc-Nature-Les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare to the Société des Jeux Olympiques Spéciaux Québec (OSQ) for two days in March, 2019. The Town of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield is hosting the 2019 Special Olympics Winter Games and in conjunction with them, the cross-country ski competition will take place in Saint-Lazare.

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