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Million-dollar dam for Hudson

By Nick Zacharias


PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

The dam that once held back the Vivery Creek to form Hudson’s famed Pine Lake is set to finally get replaced with the tabling of a new loan by-law to, “…finance the rehabilitation of the Pike Lake dam and spillway and the environmental development of wetlands.”


The April meeting of the Hudson town council saw momentum continue on the Pine Lake restoration file, with a draft tabled to authorize a loan in the amount of $1,050,000 for replacing the dam that led the artificial lake to drain away seven years ago. Council also offered assurances that this summer, unlike last year, the town would be offering a day camp program and are planning to open the community pool. Plans to develop a parking pass system for busy areas such as Wharf Road, Beach Road and Jack Layton park were also announced, as was a $20,000 fund for reimbursing homeowners the cost of planting new trees.

Financing to hold water

“This loan is the result of many years of work by council, the administration and experts to restore the area known as Pine Lake, to control flooding in the Viviry and to prevent the destruction of Cameron,” said District 2 Councillor Austin Rikley-Krindle while introducing the draft by-law. He emphasized that the status quo was not an option, given that the remains of the old dam are considered a barrier to water flow and a safety hazard by the Ministry of the Environment. He said they had a choice between simply removing the old dam and replacing the culvert under Cameron (at roughly half the cost) or constructing a new, larger dam to bring back the Pine Lake basin with a similar look to what was there before the original dam broke – council opted for the latter.

As for financing the new dam, Mayor Jamie Nicholls added that much of the funding was already secured under previous infrastructure allocations. He said there was roughly $461,000 left over after resurfacing Cameron, and another $348,000 in unassigned surplus – both of which would go towards the Pine Lake project. Rikley-Krindle and Nicholls both said the town would only be asking for up to $240,000 in new funding, which would increase homeowners’ taxes by an average of $5-$6 per year. That figure also did not take into account the grant funding promised by neighbouring Saint-Lazare, said Rikley-Krindle. “That amount will be determined by Fisheries and Oceans at the end of the construction process.” The grant available from Saint-Lazare was previously reported as $100,000, which would further lower the burden on Hudson taxpayers.


PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

Pine Lake in Hudson, which has transformed itself into more of a creek/floodplain since the dam broke seven years ago, is to get a new $1,050,000 dam that the town says will bring back the familiar lake basin while protecting Cameron from potential damage by flooding from spring runoff.


Why not protect downstream

Resident Adrian Burke spoke up in question period to make a comment aimed at seeing the town apply some of the energy they are putting towards Pine Lake to protecting wetlands further downstream. Said Burke, “I understand that the (million dollar) financing is an amalgam, and I think that’s good – especially that the town will be looking for grants and other sources of financing. I’d just like to mention that another important part of that hydrological system is, of course, the wetlands further down the Viviry, around Sandy Beach, and it would be nice if the town could consider that kind of creative financing to maybe purchase some additional wetlands down there or additional parts of that hydrological system, given that there are other sources of funding.” It seemed a clear reference to the growing movement by a citizens’ group to find grants and financing to purchase the wetlands at Sandy Beach in order to prevent development there, grants which require an application from the town.

Mayor Nicholls responded that, “The difference of course between Pine Lake is that Pine Lake is the Town of Hudson’s property, full out. If you go onto the cadastre the Town of Hudson owns Pine Lake, so it’s a different situation.” As reported in The Journal March 18, 2021 the Sandy Beach Wetland Protection Group has stated their goal is to get the town to participate in seeking grants to purchase the land at Sandy Beach, without asking the town to lay out municipal tax dollars for it.