• Nick Zacharias

Reduced town council in Saint-Lazare


PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

A truncated town council presided over the February meeting in Saint-Lazare, absent the mayor who was off sick, and Councillor Benôit Tremblay who has resigned from his duties over health issues that will require more time and attention.

It was a good-sized group of interested citizens, but a smaller than usual council that saw the opening of February’s monthly meeting in Saint-Lazare. Absent from the evening’s proceedings were District 3 Councillor Benôit Tremblay, who has officially stepped down from council over health concerns, as well as Mayor Robert Grimaudo, who was also absent but only for the short term with a reportedly more minor health issue.

The meeting was presided over by District 5 Councillor Richard Chartrand.

“Unfortunately Mr. Tremblay has had to step back to look after his health, and there is a vacancy in District 3 where he served.” Chartrand said there will be a by-election in the coming months to fill the position. Citizens are encouraged to check the town’s website for updates but the by-election is currently slated to take place by the end of June of this year.

Eyes and ears of the community

Question period was opened by one citizen (who had support from several others in the crowd) who expressed concern over early morning noise violations stemming from construction activities at the Place Verde development. “There are trucks and machines coming in before seven in the morning, sometimes as early as 4:15,” he said.

Chartrand thanked him for bringing the issue forward, saying that, “…citizens are the eyes and ears of the council.” Councillor Genevieve Lachance added that complaints could be made to the town by dialing 311, or if necessary during off-hours by contacting the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).

“The developer is very co-operative, and it’s likely a sub-contractor who is breaking the rules,” said Councillor Brian Trainor. The rules state work is not to begin before 7 a.m. and council said that given a report from a resident, they can then reach out to the developer who will speak with contractors and ensure the rules are being followed.

Wetland questions

With the approval of By-law 1079 aimed at protecting the forest canopy, many Saint-Lazare residents have expressed relief and joy that sensitive forested areas and wetlands will be saved from destruction. In areas however where development is going to be permitted, there are ongoing questions.

Residents Isabelle Gorce and Pat Novas both approached the microphone to ask about the existing 10-metre buffer zone for wetlands. “I came to council last October to ask why, in the by-law that states there must be a 10-metre zone between any development and a wetland, there is an exception for properties smaller than 3,000 square metres,” said Gorce.

Without getting a satisfactory answer, she returned to subsequent meetings in November and December to ask the same question, concerned that it could mean large numbers of small lots could be crammed into sensitive areas without having to respect the boundaries of existing wetlands.

Said Chartrand, “I knew you would be here tonight but we still don’t have a clear answer on why it is that way.”

He promised council would work to get clear resolution and Gorce vowed to return for next month’s meeting for an answer.

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