Letter to the editor 2, June 18, 2020

Wondering about water

Dear Editor,

Water is critical for every town, which is why most cities and towns were built on lakes or rivers, but Saint-Lazare does not have a lake or river, so we are totally dependent on the aquifers in the Western part of our town. Water issues have been raised at just about every council meeting for the past three or four years as people are very concerned about water sustainability and future developments. Individuals and groups have been asking for a comprehensive regional water study to determine if these aquifers are sustainable for the future of Saint-Lazare and the surrounding towns drawing water from the same ‘zone de recharge.’ In 2019, Saint-Lazare councillors wrote to the MRC asking for a regional water study. In January 2020 the MRC, in collaboration with University of Sherbrooke and UQAM, approved this regional water study. The MRC anticipated financial hardship due to the pandemic, so in March, 2020 the long awaited regional water study was postponed ‘indefinitely’ with budgets set aside for different projects going to an emergency fund. All MRC mayors, including Saint-Lazare’s Mayor Robert Grimaudo, voted in favor of the cancellation of the water study. The five Saint-Lazare councillors were never advised by the mayor about the cancellation of the regional water study. A citizen brought this issue to the councillors’ attention June 12, (11) weeks after the cancellation. How is it possible that Mayor Grimaudo did not defend the interests of Saint-Lazare by opposing this resolution? During the virtual council meeting June 9, several water issues were raised. Most councillors stated that water is a priority for them, while the mayor sat silently not mentioning the cancellation of the regional water study.

Why is water not a priority for our mayor? On March 4, 2020, the MRC hired a lawyer to fight possible mining in Saint-Lazare but councillors had to wait 10 weeks for the mayor to give an explanation of the issue, and that was only a copy of the resolution which was already publicly accessible. The mayor claimed to have ‘forgotten’ to mention these issues to the councillors, which seems to be a reoccurring problem! Is the mayor trying to hinder the good work our councillors are doing?

If the mayor forgets to advise councillors and residents about such important issues, what other issues has he forgotten to tell councillors about?

Alan Nicol


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