• Nick Zacharias

Saint-Lazare council focused on environment


PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

Without an official restriction in place for small motor noise in Saint-Lazare, the mayor said the town would consider a future by-law on their use during certain hours.

Saint-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo opened the July virtual council meeting by once again thanking the businesses, citizens, volunteers and non-profit organizations who are working to help the town’s residents during the continuing challenges in the era of COVID-19.

Legal challenges

Opening the period for pre-submitted questions, resident Richard Meades inquired as to how many legal claims there currently are against the town. Aside from multiple minor ongoing claims, District 6 Councillor Brian Trainor confirmed, “To be transparent we should advise him that we have three legal claims filed that are of any significance, two by developers and one by a contractor.”

Mayor Grimaudo later confirmed that all three were related to measures for protecting sensitive wetlands and old growth forests, as reported in The Journal last week. “We have by-laws in place already that are very tight on conservation … I know it makes it difficult for developers but we take these steps to protect our children and grand children. Once you destroy the forest, it’s gone forever.”

Give peace a chance

Resident Danielle Rouleau noted that other municipalities have restrictions on small motor noise (lawn mowers, etc.) during key family outdoor times, such as dinner hour, so that families can enjoy the peaceful environment that first drew them to the area. “Saint-Lazare is late to implement this philosophy. Signs don’t work; the town should put rules in place restricting noise for certain hours.”

Grimaudo said the approach has been to have a sensitivity campaign rather than strict rules. District 4 Councillor Michel Poitras suggested that since the request is not for an outright ban but rather a restriction during two or three specific hours on weekend afternoons, it would be a good idea to put a by-law on the table in the near future and Grimaudo agreed council could look at doing that.

No answers on traffic

“While the population has exploded, Sainte-Angélique and Cité-des-Jeunes have stayed in the same configuration. The rush hour traffic is terrible,” noted resident Daniel Wood. “Do plans exist to correct the problem?”

The mayor confirmed that jurisdiction on Route de la Cité-des-Jeunes belongs to the province and not the city and there has been no news on developments other than that the Ministère des Transports du Quebec (MTQ) has been mandated to make accommodations for the eventual arrival of the new hospital. “But we don’t know yet what they’ll be.” District 1 Councillor Geneviève Lachance suggested that the mayor should join with Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon (who was recently in talks with the MTQ over other matters) to make the case for changes in the area that would improve the flow of traffic.

Reservoirs draining

Wood also asked council, in light of recent difficulties in providing sufficient potable water, why the town would not take measures to, “…correct this major problem before permitting the construction of new developments that will only aggravate the situation.” This concern was echoed by Laurence Fortier, who wondered specifically about the heavy demand that would be added by the future hospital, while planned studies on the sustainability of the aquifer have not yet happened.

“Let me try to clarify something,” said Grimaudo, “we don’t have a problem providing drinking water. The problem is that in the historic heat waves we had in the last two months the demand on our reservoirs is too high, and they are draining faster than we can replenish them.” He admits that right now the reservoirs could be better.

While a study by the University of Sherbrooke to examine the aquifer for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC has been put on hold due to COVID-19, council has often said they have numerous other studies showing that the aquifer and its recharge zones are sustainable. Grimaudo stated that according to their studies the aquifer can support a population of up to about 25,000 people, and as for the hospital, “The water will not come from Saint Lazare … they will install a conduit under Highway 30 to access the main reservoir that draws its water directly from, I believe, the Bay of Vaudreuil.”

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