Traffic and water issues discussed among Saint-Lazare councillors and citizens


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Mid-afternoon traffic along eastbound Route de la Cité-des-Jeunes at the intersection of Chemin St. Louis in Saint-Lazare September 2. Councillor Geneviève Lachance said the town still hasn’t heard from the provincial government regarding plans to expand the artery into a four lane highway in preparation for the new Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital.

The long-awaited expansion of Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes into a four-lane highway and the on-going water situation in Saint-Lazare were just two of several topics discussed between the town’s citizens and five municipal councillors during an informal get-together at Bar Chez Maurice last Sunday morning, August 30.

It was the second independent meeting staged by the councillors – Geneviève Lachance, Pierre Casavant, Michel Poitras, Richard Chartrand and Brian Trainor – outside of city hall. The first meeting was held at Parc Robert in mid-July and drew 35 citizens. Seventy residents attended the event on Sunday at Chez Maurice which is owned by Chartrand.

The five councillors were all present, addressing concerns and fielding questions on a wide range of topics including the long-anticipated expansion of Route de la Cité-des-Jeunes and the town’s water supply.

Route de la Cité-des-Jeunes expansion

The councillors are still awaiting word from the provincial government regarding its plans to expand Route de la Cité-des-Jeunes into a two-lane boulevard from Chemin Sainte-Angélique to the site of the new Vaudreuil-Soulanges Hospital in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

“I think everyone who takes Cité-des-Jeunes is highly frustrated with the traffic. From the day we started, we’ve been asking something be done about it. We asked the mayor (Robert Grimaudo) to step up and put pressure on the provincial government and our (Soulanges) MNA Marilyn Picard for a meeting with the Ministry of Transport (MTQ) and we’re still waiting,” said Lachance.

“We have no news. We’ve had zero communication between the mayor and the MTQ or even the mayor and (Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor) Guy Pilon. We don’t know anything. He’s not talking to anyone and there are no plans right now or political pressure to fix that problem,” said Lachance added.

Excessive water consumption

The meeting was informally started by Lachance who explained the town’s potable water situation that resulted in watering restrictions being imposed by council earlier this summer. The restrictions were imposed due to the water treatment plant being unable to cope with the demand and the lowering of reserves.

Many residents assumed the reason the water restrictions were imposed because the town was running out of water which is not true. Capacity was never an issue. Fire protection service was also being threatened due to water overconsumption. The watering restrictions have been recently lifted.

Adequate water capacity

“The town has enough water. In terms of capacity we have three new wells that were dug but are not yet hooked up to our water network. That should increase capacity by 42 per cent. We’re okay when it comes to capacity,” said Lachance.

“In terms of production, we might be looking at increasing the reserve and/or increasing the capacity of our water treatment plant. It was unable to keep up with the demand for water this year. It was double what we usually have,” she added.

‘Grass is not sustainable’

Lachance suggested homeowners consider landscaping alternatives instead of installing lawns as one way to reduce water usage, saying amount of trees on many properties makes lawns impractical. “Grass is not sustainable in St. Lazare. Maybe we should think of a more sustainable way of having landscaping,” she said.

A short-term solution to the watering situation was proposed by Trainor, saying it could be based on a number of factors including better education regarding water usage and the imposition of tighter watering restrictions that began earlier this year. The long-term plan would be to improve the town’s water treatment and reserve capacity which currently serves 21,000 residents.

“We have to take corrective action. We can’t wait any longer. We have to look at upgrading our infrastructure to service between 25,000 to 27,000 residents in the near future. Everybody has to pitch in to improve our situation. Water is a resource we can’t use endlessly and think it’s always going to be there to use,” said Trainor.

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