From The Gazette

St. Lazare

Council cancels Dunes Lake preservation

  • It was one of the best-attended council meetings in months.
    It was one of the best-attended council meetings in months.
    Photo credit: Jason Magder/ The Gazette

St-Lazare council decided Tuesday not to hold a referendum on saving the woods around Dunes Lake.

Council had voted last month to set aside $1.3 million to purchase land that’s now owned by developers, and which has been frozen by the town for two years. The land reserve is about to expire, so council wanted to purchase it before any homes could be developed in the area

However, the vote was subject to a register and referendum process, with 500 signatures needed to force council to either withdraw its bylaw or hold a referendum.

Four councillors: Jean-Claude Gauthier, Michel Lambert, Brigitte Asselin and Jean-Pierre Giguère voted for the motion to kill the bylaw, while Gilbert Arsenault and Nathalie Richard voted against it.

“I know a lot of people were against the purchase, but a lot are also for it,” Arsenault said. “If we want to preserve greenspace, we have to start doing it.”

It was one of the best-attended council meetings in months. More than 100 residents came to the community centre on Du Bois St.

Richard Meades, a resident of Chaline Valley, and one of the leaders pushing residents to sign the register, said he arrived an hour early to the meeting so he could be the first person to speak.

When he did, he asked questions about what the town intended to do about overflowing ditches in his neighbourhood.

It’s believed Chaline Valley residents were the strongest force behind the register campaign. Many of them are frustrated that their area was designated a flood zone risk, and have been making regular representations at council meetings to get their issues addressed.

Meades has said if the town has money to spend, it should spend it solving the problems of his neighbourhood, which has drainage issues, and persistent flooding.

Proponents of saving the woods have accused their foes of hijacking the issue, and spreading false information to play on the fears of residents. An information pamphlet passed on to hundreds of residents warned that taxes would increase by 35 per cent. Documents from the town, however, showed the amount needed to save the woods would work out to about $12 to $14 per year for an average home over 20 years.

To read Brenda O’Farrell’s blog on this issue, click here.

One comment

  1. By D'Olbeau Potts

    Councillor Nathalie Richard confirmed the value of homes adjacent to the proposed conservation area would go up by 15 per cent. If that is so, why not make it a sectorial loan bylaw rather than a bylaw for all Lazarois? Let those who would profit, pay.

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