• Nick Zacharias

Management modifications in Saint-Lazare


THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK

Roughly eight weeks after Saint-Lazare Director General took a sick leave from his position, residents area asking if any changes had been announced in regard to the sanctions imposed on him in March for alleged shortcomings in behaviour and management of files.

The May meeting of the town council of Saint-Lazare was a bit modified from the regular format, in that it was once again conducted entirely by remote videoconference in accordance with the current rules for social distancing.

Addressing citizens’ questions online

With the council meeting being held remotely, citizens were invited to pose questions online in advance of the meeting. Resident Alan Nicol sent in a question regarding the sanctions imposed on Director General (DG) Serge Tremblay on March 17. The sanctions focused on Tremblay’s reported behaviour towards members of council and his treatment of certain unspecified files under his management.

As Tremblay went on medical leave starting the day after the sanctions, Nicol wondered if during the eight intervening weeks the DG had responded to the council’s requests, and if not, how long the sanctions would remain in place before council takes action to resolve the situation. District 1 Councillor Geneviève Lachance replied, “The DG has not answered our questions … for now there’s no further action that’s required on our part; we’re going to let things evolve and see what happens.”

On the same theme, resident Linda Glasgow asked what impact Tremblay’s absence was having on the functionality of the town’s operations, particularly during the pandemic. Mayor Grimaudo responded that while the DG is on sick leave, Town Clerk Nathaly Rayneault has taken charge very well, and that, “…everything continues to function well from the town’s perspective.” District 5 Councillor Richard Chartrand added that the town is being managed, “as well if not better.”

Support spotty for high-speed internet on Fief

A question from the Martin family underscored the new gravity of the long-standing lack of high-speed internet service in the area of Chemin du Fief in District 1. They wrote that now that residents are mandated to work and attend school remotely the lack of proper internet access is truly a crisis. “Our children do not have equal access to education … what can we do to facilitate the resolution of this problem?”

While efforts are being made to clear the way for local community co-op CSUR to install fibre-optic cable to service the area, Councillor Lachance underscored that the Minister of Education has promised access for all children, and said, “I would recommend that everyone who doesn’t have access to a proper internet connection write to the Minister of Education and ask him to follow through on his promises.”

Council later voted on a resolution to provide funding to CSUR in the amount of $4,000 to facilitate high-speed installation. The resolution passed, though not unanimously. District 6 Councillor Brian Trainor voted against the resolution, saying that affected residents stand to save substantially on their existing annual service, therefore they should pay the roughly $200 each that would be required for the upgrade. He further said that it would be unfair for all residents to pay for a service that would financially benefit a small number of households, especially at a time when many are struggling for income. “On top of that,” said Trainor, “the $4,000 of public funds is intended to speed up the process by applying for exceptions from Bell Canada; if Bell decides not to grant the waivers those public funds will have been wasted.”

Following Trainor’s statement, District 4 Councillor Michel Poitras added, “At the beginning I wanted to vote against this with Brian, but seeing as the majority was voting to carry the resolution, I voted ‘for.’”

PHOTO COURTESY VILLE DE SAINT-LAZARE

This map shows where the new lines will go for the division of Saint-Lazare into eight electoral districts, as opposed to the current six, for future municipal elections. Full details for the divisions are available on a document on the town’s website.

Districts redrawn

The map of electoral districts is being redrawn for the next election, as confirmed in a vote at the meeting. Saint-Lazare will go from six districts to eight, in line with the growing population. Most affected will be Districts 1 and 6, as they are re-shaped to make room for two new subdivisions, while others will also be redistributed in varying degrees.

The meeting closed with Mayor Grimaudo once again commending the workers, businesses and the people of the town at large for their tremendous community spirit in a difficult time.

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