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Saint-Lazare puts drainage project on hold amid concerns from residents

Click to play video: 'Saint-Lazare residents upset after receiving public notice' Saint-Lazare residents upset after receiving public notice
The City of Saint-Lazare aims to solve its issue of recurring flooding with the installation of a new drainage system but is asking residents to split the bill – Oct 10, 2019

In the fall, Pearl’s Pond in Saint-Lazare is a picturesque scene from a postcard, but when spring hits, the scene of serenity turns chaotic.

In March, the spring thaw caused water from the pond to overflow into the streets.

The seasonal flooding happens regularly, according to resident Tara Caza.

“March is the worst it has ever been, but we always have water,” she said.

Mayor Robert Grimaudo agreed, saying March was also the worst he had ever seen.

READ MORE: Spring thaw, rain cause flooding in Saint-Lazare

With no city sewer system and the ground still frozen during the spring, water accumulates on the streets and becomes trapped by high snowbanks.

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The city recently launched a $200,000 drainage project that aims to solve the issue and notified more than 14 affected residents by sending a letter in the mail. However, this week the municipality put the project on hold due to concerns from residents over costs.

Caza, like many on her street, was initially happy to hear the news, saying: “Finally, they are going to do something.”

However, to her surprise, Saint-Lazare asked them to buy the necessary culvert piping for the project. Residents were told they needed to buy the black culvert pipe by Oct. 15.

Estimates for the cost vary from $400 to $700, according to the city and residents.

In Saint-Lazare, there is a bylaw that requires residents to buy culverts for their private properties since the municipality only covers the costs for ditches. Grimaudo said the bylaw was written to ensure residents would pay for their own culvert installations on their properties.

“The reality is we could have done it better, advising residents,” Grimaudo said.

READ MORE: Residents fighting to save green space in Saint-Lazare

Caza says she is worried and has concerns about the project’s costs. She feels it is being rushed.

“Even if it was $20, if they do it and it doesn’t work, what’s the point?” Caza said.

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Due to the overwhelming concern and questions from residents, Grimaudo decided to delay the project.

“They have a lot of technical questions, which (are) justifiable questions,” he said.

The Oct. 15 deadline to buy the necessary equipment has been postponed. The city hopes to have the project completed before the winter.

“It has to be. If it’s not, we’re likely to have the same problem next spring,” Grimaudo said.

The city will be meeting with residents to discuss concerns and meet with city engineers.

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