Hudson hosts online council meeting
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JACOB ROLOFF
The Labour Day weekend saw another traffic surge on Hudson’s Main Road as drivers queued up to board the ferry to traverse the Lake of Two Mountains to Oka.
The Town of Hudson held its first remote council meeting September 8 using the online Zoom platform and residents were invited to submit questions in writing ahead of time. At the onset of the meeting, Mayor Jamie Nicholls also informed attendees they could ask live questions during the second question period at the end of the session. Nicholls asked for attendees’ patience as the council worked out the bugs and became more familiar with the new online format.
Weathering the storm
Nicholls opened the meeting by congratulating Hudson residents for weathering the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has caused many problems not only to Hudson residents but to people around the world. I want to thank Hudsonites for their resilience, for their capacity to adapt to all the changes, as well as my colleagues on the council for also doing so,” he said.
“This isn’t an easy time for anybody but, from what I have witnessed, on the streets, at the IGA, in different places in Hudson, residents really are resilient and unlike other communities, we have a certain amount of peace. We have the privilege of being relatively safe from the virus but we can’t take anything for granted.” Nicholls concluded by stressing the importance of following all public health guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks.
Resident Patrick Farrell’s written question pertained to the recurring traffic issues at the Hudson/Oka ferry crossing. He asked if there were any measures being put into place to regulate traffic at that location. Farrell mentioned that traffic had backed up on Main Road from the ferry lane once again last weekend. Mayor Nicholls recommended that residents call Community Patrol or the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) whenever there were traffic issues at the ferry, which are the measures the town has always taken with such issues. Another resident asked for statistics on the percentage of Hudson residents versus out-of-town ferry users. Nicholls replied that no such data was available, but that a significant portion of ferry users was local traffic.
“The ferry has been with us for over 100 years. It’s part of our heritage,” Nicholls commented, adding that council would continue to find ways to attract other people to other places in the town by way of the ferry.
Resident Benoît Blais asked about the latest pesticide report and if it had been revised by a consultant, as required. Nicholls confirmed that the pesticide report had been analyzed by a consultant for review and recommendations. “Council is looking to standardize the pesticide by-laws and also improve them. We sent everything to a consultant, Axiom incorporated, and that is in process currently. It’s not finalized, and we’re waiting for words from Axiom.”
The council adopted a number of proposals during the meeting, including a watershed management project for Hudson and the surrounding communities of Saint-Lazare, Rigaud, and Vaudreuil-Dorion. “Hudson lies downstream from three different municipalities. There are major developments that are on the way upstream, which will result in increased surface flows,” Nicholls said. He added that the aquifer recharge zones which Hudson depends on for drinking water are located in these other municipalities. The Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) only has power to regulate the flows of the waterways, and not ancillary issues related to water flow management, Nicholls added. “While Law 132 will eventually bring changes to these regimes, Hudson can’t wait,” he stressed. “We’re the recipients of these increased surface flows because of the upstream developments and we would benefit in getting together with our neighbours to improve watershed management.” The proposal is for a request for the MRC to create an intermunicipal agency that will assist in managing watershed for these four communities.
A resident asked for an update on year-to-date expenses compared with budgeted expenses. Nicholls answered that it had been a tough year and that no government was ready for COVID-19. "There have been lots of surprises," Nicholls said, adding that revenues were starting to come back but that 2020 was not a normal year. Nicholls mentioned that the town was looking for a return to normalcy by end of the year.