St-Lazare flooding solution causes frustration among residents

Click to play video: 'St-Lazare residents frustrated with new ditches' St-Lazare residents frustrated with new ditches
A stretch of new ditches has some residents in St-Lazare feeling frustrated. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Jun 9, 2020

Ditches in the town of St-Lazare, Que., meant to be a solution to seasonal flooding, are now creating frustration for residents.

Deep ditches sprayed with now run along Stallion and Calumet streets, but residents say the open gullies are hazardous and an eyesore.

“There is a lot of issues. Everyone who drives by can’t believe what they are seeing,” resident Keith Bayer said.

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

Installed in November, the culverts are meant to divert the waters of nearby Pearl’s Pond. The city says the $200,000 drainage project solved the issue of seasonal flooding in the residential area.

“The work was done in such a way that (it) has resolved 90 per cent of the problem,” Mayor Robert Grimaudo said.

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The city says the pond overflow, paired with the spring thaw, is the main reason for the flooding.

In March 2019, several homes and streets were taken over by water. With no city sewer system and the ground still frozen during the spring, water accumulated on the streets and became trapped by high snowbanks.

Residents like Tara Caza strongly disagree with the mayor, saying the ditches do not work efficiently and have even caused some homes in the area, including hers, to flood, which she said has never happened before.

“Something needed to be done, the flooding was getting out of control and there is still no solution to the problem, ” Caza said.

“The water has to get out of here and it’s not,” Bayer said.

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

The mayor says that it is common to have culverts in a city like rural St-Lazare, but Caza and others say the ditches are dangerous, deep and wide.

She claims to have seen several vehicles tip over into the ditches.

“Two-way traffic is now almost impossible; cars can’t pass,” Caza said.

While driving is a concern, child safety is also on the mind of many parents. Caza said she worries with the narrow road that children won’t have space to stand while waiting for the school bus.

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The mayor, for his part, agrees they are deep but says they are up to code. He continued to say that grass will grow, making the view more pleasing for residents.

“They seem a little deep, no doubt, but it doesn’t take long for the vegetation to grow in,” Grimaudo said.

Residents would like to see the culverts capped by the city.

Grimaudo said residents can have the work done, but they will have to foot the bill.

The city says it will monitor the situation and implement improvements if needed when it comes to safety and flooding.

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