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Saint-Lazare council clarifies stance regarding environmental protection draft by-law

By John Jantak


PHOTO BY MONIQUE BISSONNETTE

While a regulation has been in place since 1986 that prohibits construc­tion on private streets, Saint-Lazare council is consid­ering various scenarios for the private portion of Rue Sand­mere.


Saint-Lazare council issued a press release Friday, February 19, to set the record straight regarding its motives for introducing draft By-law 1095, saying that current information circulating within the community is not entirely accurate.

During its public meeting on February 9, council adopted draft regulation 1095 which seeks to replace Plan 9 of zoning regulation 771, which indicates the municipality’s protected forest ecosystems.

Protecting the deep interior forest

Since By-Law 1079 came into effect on March 13, 2020 council has been informed that in order to ensure the protection of a deep interior forest, it’s necessary to protect the edge of the forest all around it. They stated that draft By-law 1095 and the introduction of a new Plan 9 are consistent with the work undertaken by council and By-law 1079 to ensure adequate protection of its forest ecosystems.

Council’s objectives are to avoid fragmentation of large forest areas, limiting the impact of human activity in wooded areas deemed ecologically highly valuable, protecting potable underground water sources, improving its collective ability to adapt to climate change and maintaining wildlife and floral habitats and natural green corridors.

District 1 Councillor Geneviève Lachance clarified the scope of By-law 1079, saying that people who live on existing public streets will have exceptions on what they can do on their property. “Most people who live on a current municipal street are not really affected by this. If they read the actual wording of the by-law, they can see that they can still do pretty much what they used to do before,” she told The Journal.

Lachance said people could also build houses on their properties as long as the plans meet the requirements of current by-laws. “They still have to go through the process. They can’t just cut trees. They have to apply for permits and usually they have to have reasons to cut trees. They can still go build a shed and pool,” added Lachance.

Draft By-law 1095

Draft By-law 1095 is part of a series of by-laws recently adopted by council to implement its conservation plan adopted in 2014, but was never really introduced into its town planning regulations until the recent implementation of its Master Conservation Plan as a regional requirement. The document is available at www.ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/conservation.

Council said the protection of natural environments on its territory is a matter of general interest and contributes to maintaining quality living environments that distinctively set the Saint-Lazare community apart from other municipalities.

In addition, with by-laws aimed at increasing the protection of its rich forest ecosystems, council reiterated that Saint-Lazare recognizes the role of the forest as an essential component of the environment to maintain ecological, social, and economic balances.

To this end, By-law 1095 enhances the measures for the protection of large forest areas established by By-law 1079 without modifying the land uses that are already authorized by the regulations.

The current public consultation process is continuing until March 4, 2021. Information is available at ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/doc/APL/210210.pdf. As a result, the period of dialogue and exchange between the municipal government and the public continues and is certainly the best forum for all to express their concerns and interests about this proposed regulation.

Possible amendment

Council is also considering an amendment to Plan 9 in anticipation of the adoption of the final version of By-law 1095. While a regulation has been in place since 1986 that prohibits construction on private streets, council is considering various scenarios that would not compromise the potential municipalization of the private portion of Rue Sandmere without compromising the protection objectives of the deep interior forest to the south of this street.

By adopting these measures to protect its forest ecosystems, council considers that the city responded positively to the current challenges everyone faces in protecting biodiversity and adapting to climate change, not only for the benefit of the current population, but for future generations.

The next step in the process is to adopt the final version of By-Law 1095 before it is sent to the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges. The adoption is scheduled to take place at a municipal council meeting this spring.