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.

The summer break is over and municipal council is back in session, and that means that I’m back with the recap of tonight’s council meeting, August 20th, 2018.

View of Maupassant street in Chateauguay. Photo: Pierre M.

Everyone I talked with before the meeting had one topic in mind, and that was regarding the conservation land status on Maupassant street. An emergency meeting was held last Wednesday, and the room was filled to capacity. The city of Chateauguay had planned on changing the zoning of an entire piece of land bordering the “Green Belt” from conservation status to habitation status. This was to allow the construction of a garage for property owner Raymond Leblanc. However, by changing the zoning to allow this one project could potentially open the door for more development in this protected land.

Source: Meeting Slides from Ville de Chateauguay

After much discussion the mayor and property owner M. Leblanc came to an agreement. The city would divide the zone into separate parts and only rezone the land absolutely needed for the construction of M. Leblanc’s garage project (H-831), and leave the rest of the land untouched and protected (P-840). M. Leblanc would be allocated approximately 8000sq/m of space, and the remainder of his land claim, which totals to about 6000sq/m, will be sold back to the city of Chateauguay for the token sum of $1.

Many residents were relieved to hear this, however some were still concerned, since this still leaves a large portion of land in sector P-840 at risk in the future. The mayor explained that this land bordering Lery is owned by a developer from Lery. The city of Chateauguay has not been approached by this owner to rezone his parcel of land for development, yet.

So in this instance, the fight appears to have been won, but the war is far from over.

On the topic of zoning changes, the city has adopted changes to Zone H-304 and H-341 on Pascal street. The sectors were designated for single family homes, but will now allow 3 family homes. The number of parking spaces has also been adjusted to reflect the increased density of the sector.

Source: Google Maps

Further steps have been taken in preparation for the new residential construction project on Albini street. A request was put in to demolish an existing historic house built in 1864 located at 167 Chemin de la Haute-Riviere. I don’t know how far along the process is, but based on my research, this house is already owned by developer RMR Leblanc. So time appears short for this historic 150+ year old house!

The land near Chemin St-Bernard has been a hot topic all summer long, and was discussed in detail on the July 4th, 2018 meeting. The rezoning of this entire sector has now been downgraded from multi-family / multi-story homes and restricted to single family and row houses.

Source: Meeting Slides from Ville de Chateauguay

Ideally for our environment, it would have been nice if the land could have been protected from further development, but based on our available options, it appears this is the lesser of the two evils. It also doesn’t mean that someone will begin building tomorrow. If and when the time comes that a developer wants to build on the swamp and forest space, the citizens will be given the opportunity to voice their opinions.

Work at the old BMR building in the industrial park is expected to be underway shortly. A request was put in to allow garage doors to be installed in the front of the building, rather than at the back. This is a quality of life request, so delivery trucks will load and unload at the front rather than the back, which borders a residential district.

Also in the industrial park, the city has passed the resolution to allow competing towing companies to set up shop, as long as they abide by the rules already in place. See more details about this zoning change from the meeting that was held on July 4th, 2018.

The zoning change for thermopumps and pool filter and equipment locations has been adopted. Thermopumps and pool equipment can now be located 1 metre from the property line (previously 3 metres and 1.5 metres respectively).

View of school parking lot on Salaberry N. near Black train bridge. Photo: Pierre M.

The city has acquired a small stretch of land on Salaberry North, near the Black train bridge, from the commission scolaire des Grandes-Seigneuries, for a total of $2788.14. This will allow the city to extend the bike path along this stretch of road. This does not include the parking lot, or the crumbling wall that has fallen into disrepair. When questioned about what the school plans on doing with that dangerous wall, the mayor explained that the school board was waiting for the environment minister to allow them to repair it. Work to fix the wall and reopening the parking lot will take place sometime in the near future.

Taxis will no longer be allowed to park in the parking lot of the Saint Joachim church on Youville.

There will no longer be discounts offered to youth groups or seniors who wish to rent out hall space owned by the city. This will standardize the price so everyone will pay the same.

Administration and Human Resources: 

  • Mr. Mathieu Chartrand has been given permanent status as foreman of buildings, for the public works division.
  • Mr. Jean-Marc Robitaille was assigned a 4 year contract to take over as the head of criminal investigations for the Chateauguay police department. (Councilor Marcel Deschamps questioned the mayor in regards to the decision to assign a 4 year contract rather than 1 or 2 years, in case he doesn’t work out. The response received was that it is not easy trying to attract talent, and the position was offered internally and nobody applied).
  • Mr. Claude Tardif received a 1 year renewal of his contract as foreman for public road works.
  • Mr. Gaetan Allard will be retiring after over 32 years as a driver for the city public works.
  • A new position is opening up for a person in the human resources department to manage the “Religious Neutrality” division.

Finances:

October 16th, 2018 at 10:00am will be the last chance for citizens, who are behind on their taxes (missed payment for a period of 2 or more years) to pay their debt. After this time the property will be auctioned off. The city has made a few changes to the process this year. At the auction the city will place the first bid starting at the amount owed on the property (Example, if $5000 is owed in back taxes, that will be the first bid), after that, anyone else can place a bid. If nobody bids, then the city will become the owner of the property. At this time the original owner will have one year from the purchase date to buy back his/her property for the amount owed in taxes, plus a 10% fee.

The city has made a $2100 contribution to the Chateauguay Chamber of Commerce (in return each councilor and the mayor will receive tickets to events held by the committee).

A contract was awarded to company 9030-5814 Quebec inc. for road signage and maintenance at the cost of $27,188 per year for the period of 3 years, with possible 2 x 1 year extensions.

A maintenance contract was awarded to Les Specialistes AVA inc. to maintain the electrical equipment at the pumping stations in our city for the amount of $41,000 per year until the end of 2022. (Approximate hourly wage of a qualified electrician).

A maintenance contract was awarded to Nadco Inc. to maintain and repair the pumping station generators in our city for the amount of $125,000 per year for the next two years, with possible extensions until the end of 2021.

The municipal court will be closing the books on overdue fines that they feel will be impossible to recover for the amount of $36,387, and the city will be doing the same as well, which amounts to $28,000 of funds that they are unable to recover. (Councilor Marcel Deschamps mentioned that some debts are owed and could potentially be recovered from organizations including the MRC Roussillon for renting a room that they have not paid for, and a high school in Chateauguay for not paying their bill to the city. – We will have to follow up on this next month).

A contract has been awarded to CBCI Telecom Canada Inc. for the amount of $48,464.54 for a period of two years to replace the videoconferencing equipment in the Weslow and Marguerite-Bourgeois rooms at City Hall.

The property cleanup team has their eyes on several more properties that have been left in severe disrepair on Paul VI, Montmorency, Maple and Jack streets. Homeowners are being encouraged to maintain your property, or if the city is forced to do it, you will be left with the bill.

View of various debris on local property. Photo: Pierre M.

Several citizens presented themselves in regards to the property cleanup program and invited the city to visit a particular home on Seigniory, where the neighbour witnessed the homeowner leave out raw chicken carcasses, open trash cans, dirty diapers scattered in the front yard and a family of raccoons seem to have moved into the 2ft tall grass out front. Another homeowner mentioned a house on Ross street where he has seen over 80ft of wood fence piled up, a rear extension falling off the back of the house, a car in disrepair with half a tarp over it, and a backyard he relates to “a jungle”.

Along with citizen concerns, a resident would like the city to take a look at a bus shelter on Prince street that is leaning back into a ditch, and a community mailbox that attracts too much traffic in front of a school. Another citizen would like parking to be eliminated on Ross street due to it being very narrow and hard to park or leave her driveway.

View of new speed bumps added on Salaberry South. Photo: Pierre M.

New speed bumps were added on Salaberry South in front of the Old Orchard (northbound) and the Hair Salon (southbound). One issue with that is, many drivers are going around the speed bump. The mayor said if anyone is caught doing that, they could expect at least a $75 fine for crossing a solid yellow line.

Stop sign on Jack Street is up for debate again. It’s not in a high traffic location, but it is a 1/4 mile of straight road where many residents have been seen racing. (Even with the stop sign, according to a resident who lives on the street, nobody stops there anyhow).

The parking lot at Fernard Seguin should be completely paved by sometime in 2019.

Community Activities:

View of Christmas Parade 2017 in Chateauguay. Photo: Pierre M.

The mayor would like to thank everyone for taking part during Family Day last Sunday. It was extremely successful and the city is looking into expanding this event into an entire weekend of activities next year. Plans are already underway for the annual Christmas activities, and the city promises that we will have an amazing parade, activities for the whole family and a beautiful fireworks show. The city has promised to contribute $16,000 for this year’s celebrations. Mr. Routhier is looking for suggestions on the duration of the event. Normally the Christmas festivities happen over a period of two half-days, the city is looking at making all happen on one entire day, or an entire week of different activities, nothing is set in stone as of yet.

View of union anti-campaign posters in Chateauguay. Photo: Pierre M.

Some concerned citizens were questioning the mayor’s decision to leave up the illegal pre-election posters that have popped up all over town. The city bylaw states that each sign, if they are not removed, should receive a $200 fine per sign per day, however the mayor said it would be a waste of time taking them down, since the election begins in just a few days and most likely the candidates running will do the work for free and take those signs down and replace them with their own.

View of Highway 30 in Chateauguay. Photo: Pierre M.

Commercial vehicles being parked in residential streets is another issue that has gotten out of hand in some areas. There are inspectors making sure the by laws are respected, but they work during business hours, times that the commercial vehicles would be working. One resident requested that the city hire inspectors that could work nights and weekends and catch the offenders. The mayor said he would look into the possibility.

Upcoming meetings, the next to be held on August 23rd at LPP school in regards to the noise coming from Autoroute 30. The transport minister will be present to discuss possible solutions to the ongoing problems with the noise pollution.

And August 27th a meeting will be held to award a contract to begin work on the two initial dog parks (Dorais Park and Oliver Park).

That’s it for tonight’s meeting. I hope you found the information useful and informative. Let me know if there is any other information about the meeting that you would like to hear, I’ll do my best to answer. See you 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!