Saint-Lazare couple concerned about new residential project
By John Jantak
PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS
Plans to build a home on a 1 million square-foot lot on Rue de la Chevauchée are being contested by neighbours due to environmental concerns.
A dérogation mineure that would allow a property owner to build a new home on a 1 million square-foot wooded lot on Rue de la Chevauchée in Saint-Lazare has been challenged by a couple who live behind the property on Rue Pine Tree.
Paul Lohnes and Christiane Garcia raised the issue during question period before the start of the regular council session on Tuesday evening, January 12, which was live-streamed via Zoom.
The couple joined the conversation saying they’re worried about the number of trees that would be cut down to accommodate the new house and the negative impact that would have on the remaining wildlife that live within the woods.
Lohnes and Garcia only became aware of the new construction project recently after spotting a sign that was posted in the area that informed area residents of the dérogation mineure which is why they decided to voice their objections to council.
“Even though it’s a big property we’re concerned the house could be built in such a way that it would be in view of the homes on the back side of Pine Tree,” Lohnes told The Journal.
“Our other big concern is that it’s a wooded area where there are a lot of wild animals. Saint-Lazare is big on not cutting trees. We’re lower than the other property and the water drains towards us in the spring. I’m concerned that cutting more trees will cause more land erosion. The town has such strict rules about cutting down trees and the preservation of wetlands,” said Garcia.
The couple said they’re also worried because there haven’t been any plans released regarding the scale and scope of the project.
Decision possible at next council session
Before any construction can take place, town council would have to officially approve the dérogation mineure which will probably occur when council convenes at their next public session in early February, said District 1 Councillor Geneviève Lachance. If council votes against it, then the project would be scrapped.
The decision to postpone the approval process was made because the councillors had only received the file on Tuesday which didn’t give them enough time to thoroughly review the documentation before the start of the council session said Lachance, who is the district councillor where the new house is proposed.
“There’s a lot to think about. We have to really make sure it doesn’t create any issues in the future. We have to look at everything carefully. If we were to say no to this then I don’t see any way how the owner would be able to build,” said Lachance.
District 5 Councillor Richard Chartrand said the situation was being overblown especially since the proposed project involves only a single house that will be built on a 1 million square-foot lot.
Mayor Robert Grimaudo stated during the council meeting that, “Everyone has the right to build on their own land.” He declined to comment further afterwards.