Letter to the editor 1, Nov. 29, 2018
Conservation plan ‘red flags’
On our current trajectory, what will the Town of Saint-Lazare look like in five years, 10 years, 20 years? Will it reflect the expectations that we had when we moved here? Mayor Robert Grimaudo has proposed a detailed map, clearly identifying all of the areas in Saint-Lazare that can be developed, in his upcoming budget. If adopted, this will help residents to reach out to council proactively when they see their beloved green spaces threatened. In 2014 Saint-Lazare adopted its ‘Plan Directeur de Conservation.’ It was supposed to ensure that all future development in the town would be sustainable. In the summer of 2018 residents from the du Fief area noticed that a development project off du Fief did not meet the requirements of the zoning. It was also around that time that Place Verde on Saint-Charles, was being built.
Immediately there were red flags: Our Conservation Plan was not being consulted by council in their decision-making process. Many were unaware of its existence. The ‘Liber Ero’ study conducted by McGill University identifying endangered species was being dismissed by council and not shared with residents; Place Verde was built on land identified as, “…of very high ecological value,”and, “a high priority for conservation,” and, “wetlands and adequate hydrological studies had not been conducted before threatening our water recharge areas.” We now have a moratorium on development west of Saint-Charles. Mayor Grimaudo and District 2 Councillor Pamela Tremblay voted against it. Why vote against something good – because it could be better? Many of the councillors stressed that the moratorium would be short-term. In the era of human induced climate change, is it wise to rush back to business as usual? The mayor has promised there will be no further destruction of wetlands in Saint-Lazare. Meanwhile the water levels in our protected Bordelais Bog are dropping as a result of intentional draining. Who is draining the bog and why?
There are many other proposed unsustainable projects here – Sandmere, Oakridge… It would be nice if we could rely on our elected officials to only accept projects that make our communities healthier, safer, and more consistent with our country heritage.
Take the much-needed time to slowly and wisely embrace the spirit and recommendations of our Conservation Plan, and incorporate it into our by-laws. Please sign the Petition to Save our Trees and Water: bit.ly/PetitionStLazare