The holidays are upon us, and the council will be wrapping up until the new year, but not before introducing a few new policies, passing the annual city budget and authorizing new public work projects in the new year. For a change of pace, this month’s meeting was held at the Manoir Youville on Ile-Ste-Bernard in Chateauguay. Feel free to check out my photo tour, in the previous post, of this beautiful building.

The most discussed topic in recent months, next to the pot policies, was the housing development project planned for the Lang Farm property between Lang and St-Francis streets (Zones: H-627 and H-606). Residents in the area have been very vocal about their disapproval with the zoning change request from construction promoter RMR Leblanc. Currently construction is permitted for 12 two story single family homes. The request was made to allow for 24 single story multi-family row houses.

A registry was held and residents in the area were asked to vote at City Hall if they disapproved with the zoning change. A local resident started a Facebook campaign to get the word out to vote down this change. However good intentions were meant, it lead to quite a bit of misunderstanding. Several residents who went to vote initially thought they were voting down the entire project, and to protect this piece of land from any development, when in fact the vote was to deny the zoning change from 12 to 24 housing units. Councillor Mike Gendron clarified this and reminded everyone that the project may still go through, but under the original conditions with current zoning in place. When the vote was tallied, 172 residents came out and signed the registry, more than what was needed to request a referendum, and each resident was told that this was not a vote to cancel the project entirely.

When we contacted a few residents who live in the area, they were a little disappointed that the land could still be developed on, but were relieved that there could only be 12 houses now, rather than the planned 24. Concerns involved, traffic, noise, parking spaces and public safety, having so many people situated on the limited size plot of land.

The city had the option to move to the next step and and call for a referendum, but decided to withdraw the zoning change instead. Right now the project is on hold, we’ll learn more at a future time if the developer decides to proceed with his original plans, or leave the land vacant.

Parking has always been an issue in our town, especially during the winter months, when overnight street parking is not permitted. Not only does parking on the street cause delays to snow removal operations, but piles of snow on the street leftover where the truck had to go around. A few new parking policies and rules are expected in the new year. Currently, if a snow removal vehicle meets a parked car on the street, they need to call it in, where a supervisor will contact the police, who will then go over and ticket the offending vehicle. Plans are in the works to allow certain city employees to issue tickets, which will allow police to focus on public safety and patrolling, instead of being overnight ticket agents.

Also on the topic of parking. Many residents in Chateauguay own or work for a company that requires the use of a commercial vehicle. Officially it’s not permitted to park commercial vehicles on private property, however this will change in the new year. The mayor explained that we don’t live in Westmount, and we don’t need to have such strict private residence parking rules. The new rule would also allow for recreational vehicles to be parked in private driveways. While the books on parking are open, a new rule which would limit the amount of vehicles parked on a single family, private driveway to 5 vehicles per household. The mayor explained that it won’t effect most people, but he has seen some households with over 15 cars in the yard, and the new law will be there for these extreme cases. There is no word on when exactly this will be implemented, or if any tickets will be issued for those who don’t comply.

Ticketing will be more streamlined and efficient in the near future. The city is expected to acquire a new intelligent electronic ticketing system. The $200,000 system will allow police officers to scan driver’s licenses and tickets will be issued faster, and payment can be made sooner at the courthouse.

Cars and streets are a big part of our town, and the condition of some street still leaves a lot to be desired, where potholes outnumber solid pavement. The current budget for road maintenance, and paving projects was $1.1 million in 2018. In 2019, the budget will be increased to $3.5 million. A few major road projects in the works will include the paving of Craik street from Dunver to Parc Bonneau. Before this work begins an environmental study must be made, to make sure there will be no ill effects to the wetlands nearby. A similar study is underway on Industrial near St-Jean-Baptiste, where the width of that road is expected to double to two lanes and bike paths will be added.

Housing projects or land modifications have been a really big part of Chateauguay over the last few years, and several are currently underway, or awaiting zoning changes. Here’s a list of some upcoming projects, and potential zoning changes that the citizens can voice their concerns on:

Zoning Changes: 

  • Zones: H-627 and H-606 – Between Lang street and St-Francis. Vote was held, and citizens refused to allow the increased density of the zoning from 12 single family individual homes into 24 multi-family row of houses.
  • Zones: H-760 and H-740 – Changing the current zone along Albert Sears street that would go from 3 story single family houses to allow 3 story attached multi-family houses. Citizens in the area will have the chance to vote on this change in the near future.
  • Zones: C-732 and H-760 – On Haute-Riviere near Rene-Levesque. Increasing the zoning size and allowing for a Depanneur with gas service station to be added.
  • Zone I-301 – On Industrial near St-Jean Baptiste and Albert Einstein. Standardizing the zoning to match adjacent industrial zones. A public vote is being held from December 12th – 20th at City Hall for those in the surrounding area who have concerns with this projected zoning adjustment.

Construction & Permits: 

  • Replace a window at 27 Alexandre-Bourcier. (Approved)
  • Replace a detached sign at 54 Salaberry South, the Maison Lapailleur (Approved)
  • Build a new two family single house at 36A St-Jean. (Approved)
  • Build an attached garage at 104 Oliver street. (Approved)
  • Minor size adjustment for area to store trash at 90 St-Jean Baptiste (Approved)

    169 – 175 Haute-Riviere Chateauguay Photo by: Pierre M.

  • Adjusting the depth of the property slightly at 169-171 and 173-175 Haute-Riviere (Approved)
  • Adjusting the depth of the property slightly at 136-150 Industrial Blvd. (Approved)
  • Adjusting the distance between an inground pool and main building at 216 Zodiaque (Approved)
  • Adjusting the exterior layout of the property at 136 Industrial Blvd. (Approved)
  • Adjusting the exterior layout of the property at 150 Industrial Blvd. (Approved)
  • Adjusting the exterior layout of the property at 225 Ford. (Approved)
  • Adjusting the exterior layout of the property owned by Trigone at 390 St-Francis. (Approved)

    Christ-Roi Chateauguay Photo by: Pierre M.

  • Request to allow signage to be displayed on a window at 299C d’Anjou. Blvd (Approved)
  • Use of Christ-Roi property to increase Parking Lot size for the Centre Monteregien de Readaptation (CMR)

Two city contributions of approximately $12,000 each for park and recreation space on Haute-Riviere and Pascal.

The city has sold a portion of its property held on Principale street for the total of $130,661 to the OMH organization (L’Office municipal d’habitation de Châteauguay). A non-profit organization with the goal to help those less fortunate find affordable housing. A representative of the group made a request during question period that the new OMH building should be tax exempt for at least the next 5 years. The mayor asked why, and she explained that the group’s finances are very fragile, and paying taxes to the city was not in their foreseeable budget. The mayor then explained that if the finances of this group were so fragile, maybe it wasn’t a good idea after all to sell this property to them. We will follow up on this discussion during the next meeting.

The city will be offering tax credits to homeowners who wish to perform renovations to their homes built prior to 1985. The credit will be equivalent to the increase in taxes due to the new higher value of their home.

Tax credits and rebates will also be offered to new industries who set up in the industrial park, and meet certain criteria, during their first 5 years of operations.

City taxes for all homeowners is going up in 2019. Councillor Marcel Deschamps voted down the 3.6% average increase. To help residents cope with the increase, the city is allowing for 4 payments to be made throughout the year instead of the usual 3 payments. I suppose we should all be thankful that we don’t live in Beauharnois; with the proposed 25% tax increase. Chateauguay still is one of the highest taxed cities in Quebec, based on revenue and property values. Hopefully we will see a dramatic increase in services and road repairs in the new year.

 

Finances & Contracts
Water Supply and Treatment
:

  • A loan of $1.5 million will be made to acquire a new remote monitoring and alarm system for the public water supply building. This will eliminate the need to have the building staffed 24 hours per day, and will allow precise information to be readily available remotely to those involved.
  • A loan of $2.5 million will be made to rebuild and replace the aging pumping station equipment at the treatment plant that dates back to the 1980’s.
  • A contract was awarded to the company “CHEM ACTION INC.” for the amount of $30,308.56 to replace an obsolete sewage pump.
  • A contract was awarded to the company “LES PRODUITS CHIMIQUES ERPAC INC.” for the amount of $235,238.85. This is for oxidization and corrosion prevention in all the pipes in the public water supply. The contract is for the period of 2 years (2019-2020) and option to extend the contract until the end of 2021. The goal is to hopefully reduce the yellow and brown water coming out of our taps that we keep seeing all so often. The amount of the contract might seem high, but the mayor explained that this was 32% less than the next lowest offer.
  • A contract was awarded to the company “Trojan technologies” for the amount of $1,320,879.94 to replace the aging UV water disinfection equipment at the treatment plant. The original equipment dates back to 1990 and is too old and obsolete to continue using. There was only one offer, and the city accepted.

City Contracts / Expenses / Agreements:

  • Renewal of various city contracts involving grass cutting and building maintenance
  • Renewal of various city contracts involving software licensing and library book purchases from various suppliers including Renaud Bray and Archambault.
  • Renewal of various city contracts involving agreements with Heritage St-Bernard, the Polydium and the Maison Lapailleur.
  • Approval of various city expenses between the dates of Oct 27, 2018 to Nov 16, 2018 for the amount of $6,622,877.32
  • Acquisition of 4 new studio monitors and two carrying cases, used for various entertainment activities held in the city for the amount of $12,073.98. The previous electronic equipment dates back to 2007.
  • Temporary hiring of two men Jean Lanoix et Jean-Francois Labbé to help implement a new “CRM” system in the city over the next two years (2019-2020). This new system is expected to revolutionize how the city communicates with its citizens and how citizens can obtain information and interact directly with the city. Features of this new system include easier signing up for activities in the community, sharing issues with city services and they will be directed automatically to the proper authority (ex. take a photo of a pothole and the system will automatically geo-locate where the pothole is, and the public works will be notified instantly and work can be planned to repair it). This new system will be live and responsive and lead this city in to the future. The mayor said that we will be pioneers, and be the first city to embark on such a scale.
  • A contract was awarded to the firm “LBB Sport” for the amount of $16,970.31 to create a professional video montage to present to the Jeux du Quebec 2022 committee for our town’s nomination application. This group is known for their work on the Grey Cup in Montreal.
  • Renewal of leases at 71 Principale to 3 organizations for 2019 – 2020 with the option of 2021. (Quartier des Femmes, Espace Chateauguay, RIAPAS).
  • Agreement with the Chateauguay Valley Irish Heritage Association to allow the St-Patrick’s Day Parade for 2019 and 2020.
  • Agreement with the Canadian Cancer Society and the “Relay for Life” event for 2019 – 2021.
  • Agreement with the citizen volunteer groups to allow the installation and maintenance of local skating rinks in city owned public parks from December 5th, 2018 until March 5th, 2019. (Parc Josaphat-Pitre, Parc St Denis and Parc Hector-Berlioz).
  • Agreement with firm “9109-8756 Quebec Inc.” and the City to install sewer pumps on a low piece of land along Salaberry South and Marc-Laplante West. This would allow future development of a property that is situated below grade. The homeowner will then be responsible for the maintenance and functioning of the newly installed pumps.
  • City Membership to “Les Arts et La Ville par la Ville” for the amount of $633.63 for 2019 – 2020.
  • City Membership to “Loisir et Sport Monteregie” for the amount of $249.24 for 2019 – 2020.
  • City Membership to “SCARBRIC” for the amount of $250 for 2019 regarding river conservation.

Health and Safety:

  • Agreement, for the period of 5 years and 4 months, with the Rousillion police services to use their 911 call centre as a fallback if the main centre goes down. (Cost of $40,000)
  • A meeting with the public security minister regarding the now terminated agreement that Chateauguay and Mercier fire departments shared. Certain buildings in Chateauguay and Mercier are categorized as high risk, and when calls were made for these particular buildings, both departments would be called to the scene. Chateauguay has 10 fire fighters on duty at all times, day and night, while Mercier has only 4 on duty during the day and 2 overnight. The city of Mercier felt that they were not benefiting financially from this partnership, since their equipment and services were being called out to Chateauguay almost on a daily basis, while the opposite was not always necessary. The minister believes that 14 fire fighters should attend any high risk building scene, and the city of Chateauguay is requesting that the number be lowered to 10, and to allow Chateauguay to respond to its own calls alone, unless there is a genuine emergency, in which case, help will always be made available from Mercier and other communities in the surrounding areas.

Administration and Human Resources: 

The nomination for Me. Nancy Poirier to become the new city director general. She had temporarily filled the position since the summer after the previous director vacated the post. The city searched for a new director, and finally realized that the best candidate was the person who was already sitting in the chair. The mayor, as well as the council said how satisfied they were with her performance, and that she was a great leader with vision and would be a great asset to the town.

In my personal life, I met Me. Poirier when I was running as a candidate in the last municipal elections. She took the time to sit down with me and explain step by step everything I needed to know, so that I would be prepared for all the tasks required of a candidate. She organized all of the paperwork so that everything was easy for me to read, and on election day, she came to visit me at the polling station to make sure everything was alright, and if I had any questions or concerns that she was there for me. I feel it’s a great choice for the city.

New / Existing City Projects:

The city of Chateauguay would like to install 4 new boating docks along the Chateauguay River in various locations along the river, such as Parc Laberge, Parc Marcel Sears, Parc de la Commune and Parc Lachapelle. This would allow private boaters to tie up their boats and enjoy a day on the water. Wifi services will also be made available at Parc Laberge, as well as a common sitting area at the end of the dock for everyone to enjoy. There are no longer any plans for boat or kayak rentals however, which were included in plans from the previous administration.

The Sports / Soccer plex debate is still going on. The new multi-sports building is now open, now the decision is what to name it. When you go out and ask people, they’ll either call it the Soccerplex, since that was the original vocation of this building, but it has since evolved into a place where multiple sports can be played, and talks are underway with a Volleyball organization, so the decision was to name it a “Sportsplex” instead. This did not go over well with councillor Marcel Deschamps, who requested a vote on the matter, and that the city should force the Beau-Chateau committee to officially name it the “Soccerplex”. After several minutes of discussion, the vote was 3 for and 5 against naming the building the “Soccerplex”. During the question period, several citizens brought up their concerns about the actual purpose of this building and the ballooning costs to maintain it, without generating any revenue. The mayor called the previous mayoress an “amateur” and it was her fault for the poor planning and why each citizen is being forced to pay $33 extra this year and $75 the following years.

This month’s meeting was held at the Manoir Youville. I posted a photographic tour of this place in an earlier post. It’s a very beautiful and historic place to be calm and to relax, however it’s huge, and discussions are underway as to what can be done with the building now that the city owns it. Presently the city is operating a retreat hotel here. The scenery is beautiful, wildlife is breathtaking and the historic building is clean and very functional. With over 200 guest rooms, a full sized cafeteria, 3 ballrooms and a perfect location, this place has it all going for it, except word of mouth. Most people don’t know this place exists. On one hand that keeps the place peaceful and calm, on the other hand, a business can’t operate if nobody knows it’s there. The city is looking for your opinions on what you would want see done here in the future.

A suggestion was made this month regarding our public library. Right now it’s simply called the “Chateauguay Municipal Library”, but a naming contest was held and the majority of the votes were to rename the library “The Raymond-Laberge Library”. He was a very passionate man, who was a well respected teacher and wrote the book on Chateauguay. 82.9% of the online vote agreed that the library should be named after him. The other most popular suggestion for a new name was “Bob Marley Municipal Library”.

That about covers this month’s municipal council meeting. I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! And Happy Holidays to all! See you in 2019.

These past few weeks have been very hectic and busy. So on my first day off from work, I decided to take a quiet afternoon walk around our neighbourhood to unwind. The leaves are so colourful this time of year, and I rarely took the time to observe and enjoy nature’s beauty. Here’s a collection of photos from my afternoon. I hope you enjoy them.

Ces dernières semaines ont été très occupées pour moi. Pour mon premier jour de congé, j’ai décidé de faire une promenade dans dans notre quartier pour se détendre. Les feuilles sont si colorées en cette période de l’année j’ai rarement pris le temps d’observer et de profiter de la beauté de la nature. Voici une collection de photos de mon après-midi. J’espère que vous les aimez.

Who needs the summer warmth, when you can sit in on some heated discussions at the local council meeting in Chateauguay. The main topic that is on everybody’s mind right now is the upcoming legalization of marijuana in Canada. The prime minister is leaving the details up to each province to decide how to proceed. Quebec is taking a firm stance and holding in the reigns, while the city of Montreal has decided to take a more liberal approach, whilst respecting the Quebec rules. The city of Chateauguay has proposed it’s own set of rules with a bylaw that would restrict where pot could be smoked. The proposed bylaw would have come into effect on the day of legalization, and included allowing the consummation of pot along the lengths of St-Jean-Baptiste and Boul. d’Anjou. However, a vote was called to remove St-Jean Baptiste and Boul. d’Anjou from the list of permissible locations. Doing so, along with Quebec’s own strict laws would mean that pot usage would be restricted to one’s own private residence. This doesn’t mean that smoking pot in Chateauguay will be illegal, it just means that it will go against the city bylaw, and therefore be susceptible to a ticket from police. (Much the same as drinking alcohol in public would be).

The council voted 7 in favour of striking those two permissible areas from the bylaw, and 1, plus the mayor, against removing those two streets from the allowable locations to smoke pot. Each Councillor was given a few minutes to give their opinion regarding this bylaw, and explain the reasoning behind their decision. District #1, Barry Doyle felt that if alcohol is not allowed to be consumed in public, then neither should pot. District #2, Michel Enault explained his concern for local businesses that would have to deal with the pot smoke lingering in the area. District 3 & 4 would like more information on what the impact would be if it were allowed. Marcel Deschamps in District #5 agreed to remove those two streets as well, without further comment. #6 Mike Gendron would like to wait a year to see what the impact is elsewhere. #7 agreed. District #8 François Le Borgne gave several examples of why we should have these two streets accessible to those who smoke pot. For safety reasons, it would be along regular police patrols, who can be there for assistance, if needed. These streets are well lit, not directly in front of businesses, or large amounts of people, and regular bus service is available on these two streets, since driving while high is never a good idea. The mayor agreed with this sentiment, and added that it would be good for the restaurants and bars to offer a place to smoke pot nearby. He also explained that this is no way like alcohol, you are not holding a bottle.

So it appears that as of Wednesday, October 17th, the new bylaw will go into effect, which will allow for smoking pot on your own property. It will not be permitted anywhere else, including parks, sporting events, pools, playgrounds, bus stops, cycle paths, commercial buildings, health institutions, schools, tents and other locations, according to the Quebec law that also goes into effect on the same day.

In other news, the city is looking to simplify the rules for those wishing to remove trees on their properties. The city plans on offering free permits, and giving the person 1 year to plant another tree, or face possible fines.

The “Welcome Tax” is going up for those who purchase a house valued at more than $500,000, which will now have to pay 3% of the value.

The city is requesting a loan of $1.3 million to replace the aging radio system used by the Chateauguay Police department. Currently they operate with an P16 radio system. The new radios will use a P25 ACPO system.

A zoning adjustment was requested for Zone (I-301) which is located on Industrial near Albert-Einstein. This will allow for businesses that deal with machine parts, paint, electronics and house building materials. A special meeting will be held on October 25th.

 

A zoning change on Haute-Riviere next to the Caisse Desjardins which will allow for a depanneur and gas station in Zone (C-732) to be built. Modifications to the street, adding an intersection on Rene-Levesque and preparing the surrounding land is also planned.

The Lang farm property, located behind the houses on St-Francis and Lang streets was initially approved for single family dwellings. The developer has requested a change of zoning to allow for multi-family attached houses. A meeting was held last week. We’ll learn more about what the next step is at the following council meeting.

 

Finances & Contracts:

  • The city has awarded a contract to “Les equipements d’arpentage Cansel Inc.” for the amount of $40,758.64 to provide new robotic survey equipment. (only bidder)
  • The city has awarded a contract to “Trois Diamants Auto (1987) ltee” from Mascouche for a new Pickup truck with flashing arrow (Dodge Ram 1500) valued at $47,275.84.
  • The group “Hydro Meteo” was awarded a new contract for the next two years, and a possible third year extension up until 2021, at a total of $40,000 per year for weather reporting and river evaluations. Councillor Marcel Deschamps brought up that this same company has already been offering this service with the city in the past, and this latest contract is 35% higher than the previous one. He also questioned the necessity of such a service, since other, free, options are available. When the mayor explained that this was to give the 714 homes that live in an area prone to flooding some piece of mind that their land values would remain stable, and solid information to fight the government if the need arose. M. Deschamps then brought up that he spoke with other communities and professionals, and none felt that home values were linked to having this type of paid weather reporting service. The mayor disagreed, however said he will look into the 35% increase this year. A vote was requested, and the result was 7 to 1 in favour of this contract.
  • The group “Equipements Plannord ltee” was awarded a contract of $162,459.68 for a new “snowcat” sidewalk snow remover. (Next lowest offer was $170,000).
  • The group “ECO Technologies ltee” was awarded a contract of $109,628,66 to lease the ice breaking “frog” (grenouille) and employee for the next 2 years, with possible extension until 2021. Breakdown of each year: $51,200 year one / $55,000 year two / $66,000 year three. After reading this, the mayor then considered the possibility that our town could probably buy our own “grenouille” and lease it out to others when we’re not using it.
  • The group “Les Couvreurs Dubuc Inc.” was awarded a contract to repair/replace the roof on the “C” wing of the Manoir d’Youville for a total of $77,435.66. According to council, a very reasonable sum, considering the amount of work needed. Some rooms in this wing were closed off due to several leaks from the roof.
  • “Nortrax Quebec Inc.” was awarded a contract of $218,894.59 to provide the city with backhoe equipment. Also, the same firm was awarded $179,677.18 for a new tractor loader. The old one will be moved to ile-St-Bernard when the new one arrives.
  • Renewal of the group purchasing power for several Quebec communities to purchase fuel and oil in large quantities for the next 3 years at the cost of approximately $650,000/year.
  • City cheque payments and other expenses from August 25th until September 21st amounted to $7,183,904.12
  • Expenses for the new Sportsplex amount to approximately $700,000, and revenue is supposed to be around $900,000.
  • The city deficit this year is $850,000 to date, but is expected to balance after a revised budget.
  • The city is looking to build a new website and has hired two firms to design a new look. “Pivot numerique inc.” for the amount of $11,382.53 and “Net2 Evolution inc”, for the amount of $24,029.78. Note that this is not for the graphic design or content, that will be another call for offers in the future.

Administration and Human Resources: 

  • M. Michel Reid from the public works, parks and recreation division will be retiring.
  • Mme. Josee Preville, administrative officer from the public works has been with the city since 1986 and will be retiring.
  • Mme. Colombe Drouin has been with the public works department since 2002 and will be retiring.
  • M. Mathieu Thibeault has received permanent status as purchaser of supplies.
  • City employee #103, who works in customer service was given a 1 day suspension, without pay, for not acting very service-like.
  • M. Jean-Martin Cote was nominated to head the tourism division at the Manoir d’Youville.
  • M. Alain Cote is taking over from councillor Michel Enault as representative of the municipal habitation committee.

 

Construction & Permits: 

Minor Changes:

  • A wall sign and detached sign at 299C d’Anjou Blvd. (Energie Cardio) (Approved)
  • A detached sign at 165 Maple (30 Minute Hit) (Approved)
  • A wall sign at 89 Principale (Approved)

Construction:

  • Allowing the construction of 4 semi-detached houses at 21 Martin street (Approved)
  • Allowing the construction of a new house at 38 Bouthillier (Approved)

Modifications

  • The placement of two parking spaces at 19-21 Desrochers Est (Approved)
  • The number of parking spaces at 16 Desparois (Approved)

The city has acquired a warehouse space in the industrial park, at the cost of approximately $17,000 per year for the next two years, to house the donated goods for the local Food Bank and the Rencontre Chateaugoise.

The Chateauguay Skating Club will receive a total of $1563.86 due to a clerical error and/or miscommunication. The city forgot to mention the 4% billing fees to this organization, so the city will cover those costs this year.

The RTM (exo) will be studying uses for the land adjacent to the public transportation parking lot.  Plans will include a customer service centre, offices, and 11 bus bays. The city is giving exo 1 year to complete this study.

The two first dog parks (Oliver Park and Alfred Dorais) will open officially to the public on October 27th, 2018. This coincides with the new city bylaw which allows dogs, that are on a leash, access to public parks in Chateauguay. (G-027-18).

Citizen Concerns:

Citizens had their chance to voice their concerns in regards to issues they’re experiencing in our city. One citizen requested that the city ban all outdoor fireplaces in the summer due to the smoke becoming a nuisance. The mayor said he would look into holding a meeting next spring to address these concerns. Another citizen reported that our city does not offer enough cultural events. This citizen also noted that our local monthly guide is lacking the proper information needed to contact her councillors.

That’s about it for the mayor topics discussed at this month’s town council meeting. I will continue to add more details and other topics discussed as more information becomes available. Thank you for visiting and I hope you found this information useful and informative.

Until next time!

 

Several hot button topics were on the agenda this month at the local council meeting.

I’m going to start with the one that everyone I know has been talking about, and that’s the proposed land development in the Lang Farm orchard between St-Francis and Lang streets (Zones: H-627 and H-606). The owner of the land, and project developer, Mr. Leblanc had been permitted to build up to 12 single story single family houses, since the land was already zoned for such. However, new plans were drawn up, which would double the density up to 2 stories, and double the amount of houses up to 24. The first phase was supposed to be adopted tonight however it was postponed until the next meeting in October so that more residents in the area could be informed and have their opinions heard.

A new residential development project near the corner of Pascal and Industrial Blvd was presented to us. The zoning in this area would need to be changed due to the amount of houses requested, and the size and proportions of the land available. One such modification would be to have two parking spots side-by-side in the front of the house, since access to the rear would be too narrow for vehicles to pass. The minimum 40% green space and required tree planting would still be there, however the driveway would be located at the front steps of the house.

The proposed project is currently in a much larger zone (H-304) that includes parts of Albert-Einstein all the way up to Nobel. As not to change the zoning for the entire district, the city has proposed creating a new zone for this one project (H-341). This way homeowners in the current sector would not be able to automatically change their properties to build several houses on their same lot, or build closer to the edge of the property lines than previously permitted. Residents will have the opportunity to sign a registry if they do not agree with this project, and a referendum will be held if there is sufficient opposition.

The mayor has proposed to the council and residents, the idea to purchase and renovate the old Caisse Populaire building on Principale street. The current building was left abandoned when the previous owners moved to their new Siege Social building near the hospital. The building is up for sale for $550,000 and the mayor proposed that this would be a great place for a courthouse, council chambers, permits office, 311 information call centre and city projects office. The 3 steps required to complete this transaction would involve the approval (by majority) of the councillors, a building inspection within 30 days, and municipal affairs approval of the loan to purchase the building. A vote was held during the meeting and the proposal was turned down 7 councillors to 1. Somehow I don’t believe this is the last we’ve heard about this project, and perhaps it will be proposed again at a later date. Personally though, it doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea, in principle. The mayor explained that the current chambers located on d’Anjou Blvd cost the city over $100,000 per year in rent, within just a few years the new building would pay for itself. (Plus it would mean they won’t be tearing down yet another building in our town). We don’t know all of the details, so there could very well be other reasons why the proposal was turned down.

 

 

And speaking of tearing down buildings. The Albini project has been given the green light, so the historic 150 year old house and associated land is making way for 16 new houses. Another historic building is going away as well, 10 Omer-Loiselle. This time so they can add 13 new parking spaces for the community centre across the street. Contract was awarded to “Univert Paysagement Inc.” for the amount of $128,513.31 to clear the land and pave it over.

While I’m on the topic of parking. The CHSLD Trefle d’or (long care facility) has requested the use of a nearby city owned parking lot at Parc Chevrefils. One concerned citizen mentioned that normally a health care facility has to charge for parking, and would this also mean that this parking lot would also become a pay lot as well, and the mayor confirmed this as a possibility.

EXO, the organization responsible for public transportation in the Montreal Area, is in discussions with the city to build their new offices at our Autoparc, as well as to modify the bus entrance and exit and add 11 bus bays. Currently there are 650 parking spots, but the proposed construction would cut this number down. The mayor has proposed to EXO that they build a 3 story parking structure which would accommodate many more cars. Negotiations are still underway, however, at the present time, the answer is no. The city hopes to pressure the government to force EXO to build this parking structure, whether it be above ground or underground. Councillor Leborgne suggested that if they build it, they can add green vines and plants on the side of the structure to make it more appealing.

The city will no longer need to rent out gym space, and will now use the Sportsplex for the various activities. This will save approximately $50/hr of time used, which will go towards covering part of the fees associated with the new building.

Rules for cannabis consumption and usage, for the public and for the city employees, will be finalized on October 15th. 3 days before the new Canadian law comes into affect, legalizing its use. The city will make adjustments to it’s alcohol, drug and medication policies for its city employees.

The city is still looking to find a new place for the municipal snow dump. The amount of available undeveloped land is running out and the city would like to make the snow dump, along Albert Einstein, available for developers. The deal involving 3 promoters, “Placements Raymar Inc.” , “Azimut Promoteur Immobilier Inc.” and “Gestion Leblanc Borduas Inc.” would require them first to build the streets and connect to the city services, at which point they would return the infrastructure back to the city.

The foundation “Gisele Faubert Inc.” is looking to build a new home for a palliative care institution in our town. In the meantime the city has provided them with office space at the public library in the currently unused “Café”, for a period of two years at $1 per year. A side note, councillor Michel Eneault is the president of the Gisele Faubert foundation, and based on information obtained at the meeting, he has not held any position in this foundation beforehand.

Finances & Contracts:

  • The city has awarded a contract to “Groupe ABS Inc.” for the amount of $78,757.88 to test municipal buildings for asbestos.
  • Emergency work needed to install heating cables along the rails at the water treatment plant. A contract for $40,000 is expected. However, Councillor M.Deschamps asked the mayor about a previous contract for $16,500 that was awarded earlier this year for the same request. The mayor responded that the previous contract was not possible and they returned to the call for tenders.
  • Cheques and other various authorized spending expenses for the total of $6,926,565.76 were made between July 28th and August 24th, 2018
  • Contract awarded to  “Hydraunav Inc.” for a dry primed diesel powered water pump with solid capacity for a total of $69,365.41 .
  • Bell Canada was awarded a contract for $44,617.27 in working capital to continue upgrading to a CITRIX system. (New phone technology).
  • Rogers communications has signed a 5 year lease extension for it’s two communications towers located on city property. 45 Maple, and 500 Ch. St-Bernard.
  • The city has agreed to a 20 year agreement with the possibility for two 5-year extensions with Rogers Communications for use of microcell devices on city owned structures and buildings.
  • The firm “Tetra Tech QI Inc.” was hired to inspect the stretch of Industrial Blvd. where future construction is expected to begin. The current two-lane Blvd will be expanded to 4 lanes, with bike paths. The environment minister requires this inspection to make sure the environmental impact will be minimal.
  • An additional $7,660.85 was awarded to “W. Coté & Fils Ltee” for a snow removal attachment on one truck.

Administration and Human Resources: 

  • Mme. Nadia Raymond will now be the Mayor’s personal secretary.
  • M. André Delorme, a retired police officer, has been awarded a 3 year contract as advisor for the Chateauguay police department.
  • Mme. Jessica Bénard received permanent status as director of Human Resources.
  • M. Daniel Paquette received permanent status as director of the environmental health division within the public works and engineering.
  • Mme. Nicole Cyr, an office worker in the “Vie Citoyenne” division is taking her retirement after working 15 years with the city.

Construction & Permits: 

Minor Changes:

  • A detached sign at 190-200 Industrial Blvd. (Approved)
  • A fence along the back of a property at 108 Salaberry South. (Approved)
  • A car cover at 313 Dupuis. (Size approved, roof design needs revising)
  • 101 St-Jean Baptiste requesting an identification sign on the 2nd floor (Approved)
  • A modification of lateral sizes and total lateral margins at 45 Lajoie (Approved)
  • Property owners of 138 St-Jean Baptiste would like to modify their outdoor layout and parking lot. (Approved)

The property cleaning division has been making several inroads, and has sent notice to one resident on Seigniory who was brought up last month regarding chicken carcasses, feminine products and diapers scattered in the front lawn. Cleaning has also taken place  at 154 Oliver West, where city workers noticed very tall weeds and a filthy swimming pool. And a registry has been created to record the significant deterioration of the property on 382 Colville.

The city will be submitting it’s request for the finals of the “Jeux du Quebec” in 2022.

During the question period several questions to the city were brought up including the ongoing issue with excessive smoke produced by some backyard campfires. Parking issues along the river on Salaberry near the boat launch. Three large piles of dirt have been sitting on Gilmour the last few days. The resident says it was from a nearby construction project, and the dirt is polluted and why the city doesn’t do something about it. Another citizen was upset that he was forced to pay $312 at the new speed bumps on Salaberry near the Old Orchard. When asked what the two had to do with each other, he explained that he drove around the speed bump, and the police stopped him for crossing a solid yellow line. The city promised to look into a more permanent solution, and they agree that the speed bump is quite high, but it will be removed shortly for the winter and a new solution will be found next year. This corner has always been quite dangerous, but has gotten worse since the new traffic light was installed that permitted traffic to continue at speed instead of a stop sign that was there previously. Also in this location a few citizens were upset about a recent change in parking policies at one lot. “Someone sitting on a lawn chair collecting $10s from everyone who wants to park there”. The city says there is nothing wrong with this, and it’s not against any rules, since it’s their own private property to do with what they wish. However, it doesn’t help the lack of parking in the area that already exists. The city said they will assist in trying to find a solution, since it was a city modification that allowed 3 restaurants to operate with limited parking availability in the first place. New options could be extra parking at the church across the bridge, or the community centre when it’s not being used. Discussions will continue next month about this.

The Beau Chateau committee will be meeting on Thursday at 1:30pm, and a concerned citizen is invited to request an explanation for the $160 fee that the Sportsplex will be charging for every player from out of town that participates on a local team. Also, fees will be explained where every house, condo and apartment in Chateauguay will be charged a fee of $50 for the new Sportsplex.

Finally, a topic that has been in the local news these past few years. Councillor Mike Gendron has finally had his name cleared of all wrongdoing. This was a municipal matter, and the city will be covering the costs of $70,000 for his legal fees. Mike Gendron was represented by the now mayor Mr. Routhier, who transferred his file to an associate when he was elected, to avoid any conflict of interest.

That’s about it for this month. As usual I hope you found this recap interesting and informative. Let me know if you would like to hear anything else about the meeting that I haven’t mentioned, and I’ll do my best to get an answer for you.

Until next time!

Good evening once again for a quick recap on the monthly municipal council meeting for the City of Chateauguay this July 9th, 2018. The last regular council meeting before the summer break, until the end of August, 2018.

     Good news for those who have gardens or plants in their yard. The city has now authorized the use of watering cans to keep your plants alive. The restriction still applies to the grass, which is still forbidden to water during this drought. However, if you are caught abusing this by watering your driveway or wasting water in other ways, a fine could still apply. City workers will be on patrol tomorrow observing any offenders.

And speaking of patrols. Due to the public outcry, the city will be sending inspectors out tomorrow to commercial establishments to make sure they are respecting the law as well, any violators could receive a warning or a fine of minimum $100 up to $1000 for repeat offenses.

The city has justified the use of watering the flowers throughout the city, and cleared things up that this type of watering is permitted for the time being. Suggestions were made from the council to possibly find alternative sources of water to use instead of directly from the public drinking supply, and they will look into this. Note: The city has access to a separate water supply that they can use for watering plants. No word yet if they will possibly now fill up at this non-potable location.

Rue Albini Chateauguay (source: Google Maps)

A construction project is set to begin on Albini street near Haute-Riviere. Presently there are 2 houses on a large plot of land. A developer wishes to build 16 single family cottages on this land, situated along the river.

The old BMR building on Industrial has been purchased by a company that wishes to make changes to the existing building and include large garage doors in the front. The modification of the bylaw requested will allow wooden doors with 2/5 of the surface area to allow for glass.

Also in the industrial park a motion was voted on to allow various towing companies access to set up shop anywhere in the industrial park, and not be limited to one particular property. This should allow for competition and prevent a conflict of interest from arising, since Mayor Routhier has ownership in the single towing company in the industrial park right now.

A modification in the city zoning regarding the distance between the building structures and thermopumps, air conditioning units and pool equipment will be modified from 1.5m to 1m. However, maximum sound tolerances will still need to be respected. 60db during the day from 7am until 9pm and overnight from 9pm to 7am must remain at 55db.

Several topics were brought up that were discussed at the special meeting held on July 4th, 2018, including the zoning for residential housing in the area surrounding the wetlands and swamp near Ch. St-Bernard. The lack of transparency from the promoter who intends to build on St-Gall street, and when questioned directly about his affiliation with previous projects on the same property, that are in serious disrepair, according to residents in the area, he declined any responsibility, until it was later found out that his wife owned said properties, and they have been in court with the city for the last 7 years.

The city has updated the record for two members of the council who have financial interest in organizations in the city. Mayor Routhier with The Beauchateau, and Mr. Gendron with the Heritage St-Bernard.

One city employee (#1048) from the public works division was suspended for 16 days, while another city employee (#1872) was dismissed entirely. When questioned about the position this employee held, the answer given was that he served the public and held a position of authority, and therefore there was no choice in the matter to dismiss him after his actions. (If we find out more details, we will update this story to reflect any changes).

Source: Ville de Chateauguay

The city is looking to sell the Maison Moise-Pregent. Purchased by the previous administration, plans were to spend $285,000 to repair/restore this heritage house that the city paid $285,000 for. The current administration has decided to sell the property to someone interested in the land. Councillor Mike Gendron suggested to the council that if the city sells the property to try and sell it at least for the same amount that the city paid for it in the first place. (Reminders of the Marché Laberge).

The river has become a great place for boaters and jet-skiers, however there is little to no control over the speed they race around or their safety. The city says they will look into this. Also along the river, the city is looking at ways to help mitigate floods and ice jams in the future.

On the topic of water, the city is in need of a new UV disinfection filter at the treatment plant. Unfortunately the equipment is very specific and unique to our town’s application. The city is looking for a company(ies) to present plans to replace the filter.

There is no word yet on when the city will begin working on the beautification project at the docks on ile-St-Bernard. Mayor Routhier stated that he has many plans to increase awareness of our town with signs, information posters, advertisements for local businesses and maps to guide visitors to our town.

Also on the island of ile-St-Bernard a committee will be formed shortly to discuss the future of the hotel that costs the city over $1,000,000 per year to maintain.

    The city has awarded a contract of $150,559 to CIMA+ to continue inspecting the Chateauguay sewer network with special cameras to check for damage and if repairs are needed. According to Mr. Routhier, this is a good investment since it gives solid proof of work that will need to be done, and it makes it easier for the city to request government subsidies to complete these repairs.

GBI-Experts Conseils Inc. was given the contract to work on rebuilding the pumping station for the town’s drinking water at a cost of $78,412.95. They were by far the lowest bidder in this process, with the following bid at over $261,000

The city has made a deal with the Grande Seigneuries school board for sidewalks near Notre-Dame-de l’Assomption school and Ecole de la Rive, and to create a safe drop-off zone for parents.

The city will also begin cleaning the messy properties that were mentioned at last month’s meeting. Home owners were given several notices from the city, and now the city will take action and clean the properties. (No word though on how they plan on recouping the money spent on the clean up if the home owners don’t pay, or cannot be found).

And that’s about it for the major topics brought up at the meeting this month. Stay tuned for further updates and discussion about our town and as always thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you find it useful and informative.

Until Next Time!

Pierre Mayer

Good Evening all!
     The meeting ran a little long tonight, so here’s just a brief recap of the 3 topics discussed tonight. I’ll post the rest tomorrow in the discussion group.
     The new St-Gaulle 7-story tower that will be situated behind the bowling alley (next to Mini-General). The promoter attended and talked about the benefits of his project, however, there were many questions and concerns from citizens who attended. The biggest issue is how crowded and disorganized the current layout is, and adding 85+ units will only make the situation worse.
 
     There is no fixed timeline for this project to get underway, but ground could break as early as next spring and possibly by the fall 2019. If it takes any longer than that, the project must then be resubmitted and the process starts over again.
 
     I know that most people on here are very interested in hearing about the Ch. St-Bernard area zoning, and it’s a topic very close to me as well. Most of the original development plans that we’ve seen over the last several months and years have been tossed due to a recent change in the city limits. The land across from the treatment plant and behind Robert has now been handed over to Kahnawake, so no development will be possible anymore there.
 
     The city is looking to change the zoning in the area, which currently allows for 3-4 story houses and condos, but with a zoning change, it will only permit single family housing and duplexes. More discussion will be done to possibly force a lower density, which will potentially make the wetlands less attractive to potential developers.
 
     So, from my understanding, this is potentially a good thing, or at the very least, a lesser of two evils. The land has to be available for development, but zoning at the lowest density possible, might not attract many developers, since it will mean less profits.
 
     Ideally the land should be protected and allow the wildlife to live, and the public to enjoy. Plus it acts as a great big sponge to help protect the current houses from flooding. Those who attended the meeting requested an environmental study to make sure the land always stays protected, but it would cost over $100,000 for the study, and the city wants to put this on the potential developer rather than the tax payer. The city will also not give any incentives for those who want to build here. So the costs could far outweigh any potential profits.
 
     It’s still a dossier I will be following very closely, but at the moment I feel it’s too soon to be concerned, as it could potentially be 5-10 years or longer before this topic even comes up again. It all depends on Transport Quebec, Kahnawake and promoters, developers and the city of Chateauguay.
 
     There will be registry to demand a referendum, which would require 12 signatures from those residing in the area. However, this referendum would not prevent the construction, or protect the land from developers. This zoning change is to lower the density of any future development. A future referendum will only happen if any potential project is accepted, and that’s when residents can step in and try and block any development. Right now it’s just a zoning change to make the land less appealing to development. (So potentially a good thing for us?)
 
 
     Finally tonight, the city is also looking to approve zoning for the towing industry in the industrial park. Presently there is one towing company, which the Mayor has a personal interest in. Also modifying the zone to allow up to 10 shipping containers for police and insurance companies to use, so they can protect vehicles that could be involved in court cases. Currently shipping containers are not permitted to push building owners to add new permanent buildings rather than temporary storage, but a container in this case is a method for police to store vehicles.
 
     And that’s about it for tonight. Lots more to talk about, but I will continue tomorrow. I also have more pictures of the future projects discussed tonight.
     Stay tuned for more, and as always, thanks for your support!