• John Jantak

Chaline Valley landslide stabilization work ready to begin


The Town of Saint-Lazare is reminding residents to be vigilant of the increased traffic as a result of the Chaline Valley stabilization work.

Work to stabilize the slopes of Saint-Lazare’s Chaline Valley to prevent possible future landslides is finally set to start within the next week or two. The project is expected to last at least 15 to 20 weeks depending on the condition of the construction site and the weather.

The slope stabilization project will take place along a portion of the Quinchien River and one of its tributaries. It aims to stabilize the Chaline Valley sector, an area exposed to large-scale retrogressive landslides due to the presence of several potential trigger zones within the meandering path of the Quinchien River.

Mayor welcomes stabilization work

The announcement of the stabilization work was welcomed by Mayor Robert Grimaudo who was at the forefront of efforts to try to resolve the situation when it was first revealed that the portion of Chaline Valley along the river’s edge was prone to landslides.

“I’m very happy we’re finally here,” Grimaudo told The Journal during a telephone interview on July 3. “It was in 2012 that this was first brought to my attention when I was newly elected. It’s a huge undertaking. At the time I remember saying I don’t know if anything can be done but rest assured, we started looking into it. Almost seven years later, here we are starting to dig. It’s a good thing.”

One resident still holding out

The mayor said it’s regrettable that one resident – François Lefebvre in construction site 18 – has not agreed to allow the stabilization work to proceed on his property in hopes of a better offer from the provincial government. Lefebvre’s resistance means the owners of the 11 adjacent properties who have agreed to the project will not have the necessary work done to stabilize their land because of his stance.

“I’m still disappointed that in that one zone the work will not be done because of one resident. But for the rest of Chaline Valley, all those people will have their properties stabilized. They will have a safe and secure place to live and the infamous stigma of being in a landslide zone will eventually no longer be there. Once that stigma is lifted, the value of their homes will increase,” said Grimaudo.

Excavated material replace with rip-rap

More than 127,000 cubic meters of excavated material will be transported to a disposal site in Saint-Lazare’s La Pinière sector and replaced by 27,000 cubic meters of rip-rap – rocks and stone – that will help to significantly minimize erosion. The town has issued a warning to area residents to be vigilant in the presence of heavy trucks.

The mass excavation will require 25,000 round trips, an average of 250 round trips per day. The project is estimated to cost $15.7 million and is being touted as the most expensive landslide stabilization project in the province’s history.

“It’s not going to be pretty,” said Grimaudo. “There’s no doubt about it. The residents are going to have to be very patient. There’s going to be dust and traffic and lots of things to deal with, but if we don’t break these eggs we’re not going to make that omelet. The work will be completed by the end of the fall.”