• Nick Zacharias

Saint-Lazare will see the light


THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO

Saint-Lazare residents should see soon a more reasonable flow of rush hour traffic following council’s unanimous approval for the installation of a new traffic light at the problematic intersection of Bédard Avenue and Chemin St-Louis.

It was a quieter question period than usual at the March 10 meeting of the Saint Lazare Town Council, but a highlight of regular business was the unanimous approval for the installation of a new traffic light at the intersection of Bédard Avenue and St. Louis Street, the site of a long-standing issue with heavy congestion as rush-hour traffic approaches and exits the Trans-Canada Highway.

Communication kerfuffle

The Town Council of Saint-Lazare encourages citizens who are unable to attend meetings to submit their questions online and one such question on Tuesday evening centered around why the council was not versed on the actions of the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) when the story broke last week in The Journal that the MRC had hired a lawyer to prevent the provincial government from imposing mining activities on the region.

Mayor Robert Grimaudo said that by provincial law, “All areas of low density, and believe it or not Saint-Lazare is still considered low-density, have to permit mining for rare earth minerals like Lithium.” He went on to explain that the MRC does not want this kind of operation in the region, so they have engaged a specialized lawyer to try to prevent it.

When District 5 Councillor Richard Chartrand interjected that the question was about why the mayor had not informed council of the situation before sharing the information through the newspaper, and that it was his responsibility to keep council up to date, the mayor responded simply, “You’re right.” He explained he felt it was important to make the information public, that it was a simple oversight not to have shared the information directly with council sooner, and that of course he would be going over all of the details with them.

Traffic relief on the way

As the council proceeded with regular business on the agenda, one item that drew a little more commentary than the usual ‘for’ or ‘against’ vote was to approve the work to install a traffic light at the problematic intersection of Bédard Avenue and St. Louis Street.

“Lots of people have been waiting for a solution for this intersection, and we hope this finally solves the problem” said District 1 Councillor Genviève Lachance when casting her vote in favour.

The intersection has been a sore spot for a long time, and there was debate over whether the best solution would be to create a roundabout to keep traffic flowing or to install a traditional four-way traffic light. Ultimately council opted for the less expensive option of a light, which will come in at a comparatively reasonable $165,000.

“This is a much more affordable solution that council has voted for,” said Grimaudo. “We’re hoping this will do the job and get traffic moving better through that intersection.”

The projected due date for the traffic light installation is late fall, 2020.

Watering controls tightened

Another resolution passed was to tighten the restrictions for watering of vegetation. Changes to the rules include further restricting the hours and times that watering is permitted, and importantly, that underground watering systems now must be equipped with moisture detectors or automatic shutoffs to prevent them from operating while it is raining. Full details will be available online. Said the mayor, “This is an important resolution because most irrigation systems are using treated water; not only is there a high cost associated with that, but also it’s obviously a priority for us to protect and conserve our water supply as much as possible.”

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