Focus on construction in Hudson core
By Nick Zacharias
PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS
Mayor Jamie Nicholls asked drivers and Hudson business owners alike for patience during the period of construction which has caused major detours with closures on Main Road, and is expected to continue through most of the summer.
The July 5 meeting of the Hudson Town Council saw Mayor Jamie Nicholls and his council voting on several issues and answering citizens’ questions regarding road reconstruction in the village core. Also brought up was a comprehensive financial and economic impact analysis of the Pine Beach (Sandy Beach) development project. The analysis, titled ‘The Balance Report,’ was submitted to the town by a finance working group on behalf of the Sandy Beach Wetland Protection Group and concludes that the development would have a negative financial impact on the town.
The meeting was opened by the mayor who requested that people show patience with the major reconstruction work on Main Road. He assured concerned citizens that the currently closed section of Main Road east of the village should be unblocked by the end of this week, and that the construction work in the downtown area will end in mid-August – by which time council will have finished developing plans to work with businesses that are struggling due to restricted access to get back on their feet.
Said Nicholls, “Please let’s be patient about this and take things easily … today there was a flagman who was injured at Cameron and Main with a hit and run. The assailant was caught and I just want to ensure that everyone in the town is patient throughout this construction. I know that nerves get frayed and it takes a little bit longer to get where you’re trying to go … if we all just take our time and show patience it’ll go much better.”
More road construction coming
On top of the continuing work happening on Main Road, council approved the awarding of a contract to Shellex Consutling Group in the amount of $91,250 to develop plans and specifications for the reconstruction of Lakeview sometime next year, as well as a $204,390 contract to Meloche (Division of Sintra) for repairs to a number of roads later this summer. “The work should be starting in August on many, many roads in Hudson,” said Nicholls.
Negative financial impact of development at Sandy Beach
Resident Benoît Blais spoke up in the second question period to ask about impacts to the town of the proposed 214-unit development in the Sandy Beach area, referred to by the developer as Pine Beach. “In an interview on the French CBC on July 1,” said Blais to mayor Nicholls, “you said that it is realistic for a town of our size to acquire the land of the Pine Beach project to protect it … and that you would be open to approach (the developer) Nicanco to discuss options but you need the approval of council.”
Blais also referred to a detailed 26-page financial analysis of the Pine Beach project which was provided to the town to fill a void as, according to at least one councillor, the town has not produced a financial analysis of its own. The study was done voluntarily by long-time Hudson residents Blais, Jacques Bourgeois and Trail Grubert who between them collectively have over 100 years’ experience in infrastructure and finance, as well as multiple degrees in finance, business administration and engineering.
Said Blais of the report’s conclusion, “The town will lose a minimum of $269,000 every year because of that project. The estimated welcome tax of $1.26 million will only cover the first 4.6 years,” meaning that after an initial short-term boost, the town would be looking at a lasting financial deficit from the increase in residents. “Would it not be interesting for the town to open negotiations (to buy the land) to save money for the town?”
Nicholls would not answer whether or not council had discussed or voted against purchasing the land in caucus, and said they had not yet had a chance to carefully look at the numbers in the report, but promised they would look at it in caucus and discuss its contents so as to have news for the August council meeting.