Wetlands and skateparks discussed in Saint-Lazare
PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS
Saint- Lazare residents (L-R) Jaden Cooke, Cole Savage, and Michael Desjardins, who say they’ve been coming to the Bédard skate park almost daily for years, are disheartened by the dwindling number of safe ramps to use.
At the October meeting of the town council of Saint-Lazare, the overriding issue of the evening was the news of a culvert project planned to relieve flooding on the streets below Pearl’s Pond. A large group of area residents showed up for question period, all with the same concern.
“I received this love letter from the city, tucked in my front door, informing me that they’re going to dig a ditch on my street and I have until October 15 to pay for this pipe they want to install,” said first to the microphone Danielle Hébert.
Mayor Robert Grimaudo responded that the work needed to be done to drain flood waters coming from Pearl’s Pond. Flooding has become more frequent around the areas of Stallion and Calumet Streets, especially with repeated freeze and thaw cycles caused by climate change. “Last year we pumped out the excess water to help with the flooding, the trucks were there draining almost daily, and we need a proper solution. The solution is to build a series of culverts.”
Trouble with delivery
The residents present seemed not so much opposed to the cost of the action but to the abrupt way the message was delivered and that they could not be certain the work would be successful.
“We could have communicated the message a little better” admitted Grimaudo. He went on to explain that historically culverts have always been supplied by residents for their own properties (he briefly misspoke and said they were supplied by the town, to much applause and laughter including his own). The town will take on the cost of the work and repairing damage to property.
Others questioned the wisdom of the plan, citing previous attempts at managing water that were not successful. Resident Mr. Arcand asked,“You want me to spend 700 bucks on a tube, and we’re all Guinea pigs in this experiment? If it doesn’t work I can’t just return it to Rona.”
With all the concern in the room, Mayor Grimaudo decided to put off the deadline for the time being, and asked Councillor Pierre Casavant to convene a meeting to bring together residents with engineers from public works and have all their questions answered. In a show of civic efficiency, public works was contacted and a meeting set for October 15 at 7 p.m. at city hall so everyone could see the plans and settle the matter. They’re aiming to complete the work before this winter.
Other wetland issues
Still on the theme of water, questions were brought to council regarding the commitment from Saint-Lazare to help finance the re-creation of Hudson’s Pine Lake, which has been allowed to return to its natural state over the past five years, as well as questions about falling water levels in the Bordelais bog. In the case of Pine Lake the mayor said they would have to carefully look at a forthcoming study from Oceans and Fisheries Canada. As reported in The Journal June 6, Saint-Lazare and Hudson would be consulting with the watershed council for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Conseil du bassin versant de la région de Vaudreuil-Soulanges (COBAVER) regarding the possibility of rehabilitating the man-made lake. For the diminishing bog, he said two studies are recommended by the environmental committee – a hydrological study and an examination of local flora – to understand the issue.
Skatepark improvements needed
Last up to the mic was a young man who came to make a case for improving the skateboard facilities at Bédard Park. “I go there every day, but the park is not up to the standards of those in Vaudreuil-Dorion or Pointe Claire. We had to remove a mini-ramp this spring because it wasn’t safe anymore, and it makes us all sad.”
District 4 Councillor Michel Poitras agreed that the park was not in great shape and could use an upgrade, but that the work is expensive and if they were to make changes they would want to do it properly.
“I encourage you and your friends to take a trip to the ‘Pumptrack’ in Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot, to see if that is an option we can look at,” said Poitras. “And I would very much like to see you and your friends join us at the next Politique Familiale meeting and present a case – it is great to hear the voices of the youth, and we would love to hear more young voices engaged in discussions for our public spaces.”