Letter to the editor 1, March 11, 2021
Players behind opposition to 1095
The February 9 Saint-Lazare council meeting shed some clarity on the players opposing By-law 1095. On the one hand we have Mr. Caristo, a landowner of a lot on Sandmere, who just wants to build his home on a parcel he bought in 2016. On the other side of Côte Saint-Charles we have Mr. Côté, a Laval resident who bought a lot on Oakridge, and who wants to exercise his perceived right to exploit the maximum financial potential of his investment. Both men purchased their land knowing that they were not allowed to build on the land since the 1986 by-law that prohibited building on lots on a private road. Both men were counting, speculating on changes in the future that would grant them the possibility to build in the case of Mr. Caristo and exploit in the case of Mr. Côté.
I can sympathize with Mr. Caristo and hope that council can find a compromise to allow him to build his homestead on his lot with minimal impact on the forest. When it comes to allowing a maximum exploitation, a housing development with a major local developer, my sympathies waver for areas of high ecological value. Mr. Côté talked about loving his Black maple tree in his Laval property and his adamant commitment to not cut it down, yet he is calling By-law 1095 a monstrous transgression because it would deny him the right to join forces with a developer to cut down the forest for a profitable housing development. I’d rather he cut down his isolated maple tree and save the forest.
Having said this, I applaud and respect Mr. Côté for being honest and forthright with his intentions to exploit his investment to the maximum. Unlike other landowners affected by this draft by-law, he is not riding on the coat tails and public sympathy towards people like Mr. Caristo who just want to build their home. Mr. Caristo had pointed out that he was not one of the landowners who sought to participate and profit from a residential development. I think this distinction is key when deciding the outcome of forested areas with high ecological worth that form an integral part of one of the largest contiguous forested wildlife corridors left in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region denoted as important by the MRC.