Laval residents fuming over stagnant stream

Click to play video: 'Stagnant Laval stream attracting rats, snakes'
Stagnant Laval stream attracting rats, snakes
WATCH: Residents in Laval argue officials failed to maintain greenery near a stream, causing it to become stagnant and attract mosquito larva, snakes and other unsavory creatures. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, residents say their complaints have fallen on deaf ears – Oct 24, 2017

Living conditions have taken a turn for the worse for dozens of residents living in Laval.

A narrow stream that meanders for two kilometres near the backyards of single-family homes in the Vimont district, has become overgrown with trees, grass, and shrubs.

The water, that once naturally flowed, is now stagnant and has become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae, rodents, and other bugs.

“You can’t be out in the yard in the evening or at dusk because of the mosquitoes or the other insects that are spawning in the swamp area,” Michael Borrelli, a homeowner in the area, told Global News.

Years ago, the banks stretching from the top of a bike path, parallel to the stream, all the way to the water was landscaped with cut grass free from overgrown vegetation. The water was flowing and it was clear.

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“The maintenance of the grass was immaculate. It was like a golf course. You could walk right up to water, you could see right through the water,” Borrelli said.

The homeowner and many others are calling on city officials to return the stream to its pristine conditions.

“If you get voted in as a city councilman, you therefore to take the concerns of all the residents. And you have to fight for us. That’s your job. That’s what you’re there for,” resident Santa Salucci told Global News.

But the city councillor responsible for the district argues that’s easier said than done.

David De Cotis insists the Quebec government ruled the stream and its path a natural habitat years ago and so all maintenance had to stop.

But the councillor agrees the status quo isn’t acceptable.

He’s supporting a plan that would allow for a new bike path, controlled growth of vegetation and rebuild a path for the stream to get the water flowing.

“We’re in a construction zone right. It’s not completed yet. Obviously, right now there is lots to be done,” De Cotis told Global News.

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That solution isn’t sitting well with residents.

They insist the proposal will do nothing to return the stream’s swampy conditions back to its natural beauty.

“I cannot enjoy my backyard anymore. Full of mosquitoes. I cannot stay more than 20 minutes because of this,” Antonio Di Cola told Global News.

The homeowner and others plan to continue fighting the city and they plan to target the Quebec environment department and request that it remove the stream’s designation as a natural habitat so that city workers can once again landscape the stream’s banks and get the water flowing again.

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