Letter to the editor 1, Dec. 10, 2020
Your article on Rigaud Mountain was a good effort at explaining the latest commotion here. (Development on Mont Rigaud deemed a necessary part of conservation, The Journal, November 5).
It's not easy to write about Rigaud. I have lived here for a long time and mainly because I have family in Ottawa. From my perspective, Rigaud has identity problems which arise out of refusal on the part of most people who have run the town over the years to let it be what it is; i.e. a little town at the end of the line.
The confusion you describe in your article is the very thing that makes it hard to live in Rigaud. Not even the most basic by-law stays around for long. Everything gets tweaked and fiddled with in hopes of that ‘avant garde’ moment when the town will bloom as a sudden find. It never happens, and can't. Rigaud, in my opinion, is a town that people drive through and it's nice for that. There is little reason to want to live here, however, because there are very few good areas to live in. The mountain takes up a lot of the space and again, although nice to drive through when the leaves change colour or for a thrilling car ride down Bourget Street, there is little demand for permanent residence up there.
The ascent on a daily basis is horrific for the environment as your car spews out exhaust on the climb and no one really wants to live in a place where traipsing tourists can at any moment appear, staring moonfaced at you going about your daily life in so-called privacy. Also, most people don't want the added hassle of digging a well, maintaining pumps and paying for septic services on top of very high taxes.
A lot of the chronic hype over the mountain is, in my opinion, to create an intrigue over the place and hopefully to stir up interest but in fact there is little demand here for practical habitation. I do fear though, that the mountain offers potential for businesses who deal with waste and general dumping. The history of the mountain, in fact, is riddled with stories of people and things being hidden away. Rigaud has severe water shortages and poor infrastructure. These basic needs are not being met despite the high tax rate.
Rigaud's enduring reality is as a less expensive option to Hudson and Saint-Lazare. No confusion there.