• James Armstrong

Chaline Valley stabilization project well underway


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

The land stabilization project in Saint-Lazare’s Chaline Valley is progressing to the residents’ satisfaction and is expected to reach completion by the end of the year.

The massive land stabilization project in Saint-Lazare’s Chaline Valley region has been well-received by the area residents.

“They are very conscientious,” resident Richard Meades commented during the question period of the monthly council meeting held Tuesday, August 13. “The truck drivers obey the speed limits and the street gets washed down every night. I believe the homes that have the slide zone behind them will see their value is going to go up.” He noted the work being done has cleared the view of the valley and the Quinchien River and also allowed more sunlight into the properties backing onto the river. Mayor Robert Grimaudo agreed saying the council had recently toured the work site areas.

Centennial maple on the brink

Meades gave The Journal a guided tour of the area on Monday, August 12 that included a visit to the property of François Lefebvre where an ancient maple tree is about to be felled to make way for the stabilization project.

“It’s about 100 years old and approximately 75 feet tall,” said Lefebvre adding family members and friends intended to be there when the tree takes its last stand in early September. Lefebvre was the property owner who originally refused to sign the agreement with city to allow the work to proceed on his property. That refusal affected 11 other adjacent properties all of which comprised work Site 18.

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

A towering 100-year-old Maple tree will have to make way for the Chaline Valley stabilization project, no longer offering protective shade to property owner François Lefebvre (right) and neighbour Richard Meades.

Lefebvre had a change of heart in late July after the city brought a court injunction against him citing security issues if he didn’t comply, he said. The result is the work at Site 18 will proceed, Lefebvre will lose less of his property to the project, and he will be able to reforest the slope with local species of trees.

An avid gardener, Lefebvre has been working overtime to move his garden shed, plants and small trees. “I feel like Noah, taking the plants two by two,” he said with a smile. The stabilization project, the largest ever carried out in Quebec, is expected to be complete by December, 2019.

Place Verde questions unanswered

Among other issues raised at the monthly council meeting, a resident had questions regarding the wetlands in the Place Verde development project on Côte Saint-Charles Road. The resident wanted to know if the developer’s environmental studies corresponded to those of the town carried out by the engineering consulting firm Genivar Inc. in 2007.

“(The developer’s) second study corresponded more to the Genivar study,” responded Grimaudo.

“In view of the errors of the biologist (previously) mentioned in The Journal, will Saint-Lazare mandate an expert for a second opinion before approving any development of the Place Verde project?” she asked.

The mayor began to reply when Director General Serge Tremblay interrupted him saying the question could not be answered due to possible legal issues between the town and the developer. The mayor also declined to answer five additional questions on the subject for the same reason. During the July 9 monthly meeting, council approved a resolution pertaining to making changes to the overall plans for the project at the request of the developer. According to the resolution, the developer requested increased space allocated to wetlands, a reduction in the number of building lots, an increase in the area dedicated to green space, and the removal of two public roads and two access roads from Chemin Sainte-Angélique.

Protecting wetlands for the future

Council approved a resolution amending zoning laws to increase the protection of all the wetlands in the territory of the town. The resolution makes any backfilling, excavation, drainage or extraction of wetlands illegal.

“We are now taking all the steps necessary to protect wetlands with zero interference,” said the mayor. “There’s a wetland; it stays as a wetland.”

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