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