• James Armstrong

Saint-Lazare approves partial moratorium on development


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

The du Fief area of Saint-Lazare was given a temporary reprieve from a proposed housing project as town council approved a moratorium on development in the sector.

Saint-Lazare town council voted in favour of a resolution declaring a partial moratorium on housing development for an indefinite period during the monthly council meeting held Tuesday, November 13. It is ‘partial’ in that it affects a specific sector of the town that includes the proposed du Fief development in the west end. It did not pass unanimously with dissenting votes cast by Mayor Robert Grimaudo and Councillor Pamela Tremblay. Both Grimaudo and Tremblay expressed concerns with the lack of a time frame and the need to consider a town-wide moratorium.

Concern for town-wide issues

“My biggest concern is that we should not be looking at just one sector. There are sectors near Chaline Valley that are extremely environmentally sensitive,” the mayor said following the meeting. As for the partial moratorium, he said there were a lot of issues that needed to be dealt with. As an example, he referred to the objectives of the town’s conservation plan needing to be integrated into existing by-laws.

“All of these things are very time consuming and I will work diligently with the council to make sure that everything moves ahead quickly,” he promised.

Protecting du Fief environment

“We need to do environmental studies and studies of the recharge zone for subterranean water in the du Fief area,” Councillor Geneviève Lachance told The Journal after the meeting. “The moratorium for that area has nothing to do with the east end of the town.”

She said council has to consider and examine development files for the eastern part of the town but the issues for that area are different. “It’s a question of infrastructure and public security and we don’t make decisions until we are presented with a project file,” she said.

Residents’ reaction

It was good news for the residents from the du Fief area that have shown up at council meetings for several months to raise and reiterate their concerns about development in their area.

“It’s exactly what we wanted them to do,” said resident Rachel Solyom. According to the resolution, council wants time to identify and put to use the tools available to them to protect the diverse natural resources of the area in question including the various reports given to them regarding sustainable development and biodiversity.

“While it is an indeterminate period of time, it is not a forever reflection,” said Councillor Brian Trainor. “We will be doing this the right way. This isn’t an anti-development resolution. It’s a resolution for controlled development,” he added echoing the sentiments of the councillors who approved the resolution.

Chaline Valley

Council approved a resolution to proceed with negotiations to purchase two residences located in the Chaline Valley landslide zone.

“They are literally at risk,” said Grimaudo of the two homes. “It’s not a shed at the edge of a property or part of the land, it’s the actual homes,” he added. Resident Richard Meades questioned the effect of the town’s purchase on the value of other properties in the area. The mayor responded that the overall Chaline Valley stabilization project would alleviate the current stigma of a landslide zone and have appositive effect on property values.

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