dimanche 7 avril 2013

Municipalité de Lac Simon - Rapport Spring 2013

"Few is the number of those who think with their own mind and feel with their own heart." ~ Albert Einstein

“Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.” 
~ Edward Abbey

Hello everyone,

Spring is almost here! Soon we will be heading to the lake, opening our cottages and, best of all, putting our boats into the water. Myself, I am looking forward to another summer of water skiing and fun with the gang!

There has been many things accomplished on almost every level at the municipality: financially, environmentally & administratively these past few weeks, months & years in every department: Sécurité & Incendie, Travaux Publics,  Matières Résiduelles & Recyclage, Urbanisme & Environement, Services Administratif. First and foremost we must acknowledge the effort of our director general, Jacques Maille! 

There is much to be proud. Yet municipal politics being what it is, the old tendencies of secrecy and hidden private agenda persist.

Here are, however, a few major issues that should continue to attract our attention!

1) Hotel de Ville: As in 2008, there is a push (again) to build a new town hall. Moreover there is a push by  Gaston Tremblay (April 5 conseil) to SELL our municipal land in front of the municipal wharf! The municipal land in front of the municipal wharf must NOT be sold off to any private developer! EVER!

While the land on Chemin du Parc (Chemin du Depotoir) has been disqualified because of its proximity to a private quarry, the land behind the municipal beach (near bridge) is being argued as the site. I am against this location for any number of environmental and administrative reasons! It is NOT logical.

There is no better way to guarantee that the municipality keeps the parking lot land than keeping the town hall in its current location. That said, I am not against building a new town hall. Like all buildings, our town hall may need to be changed one day. But if a new one is constructed, it should be in front of the public warf! And it needs to be green! A LEED building!

The municipal town hall needs to stay where it is! 

The land must remain in the public realm!

2) Les Peres Saint-Croix: As my September 2012 email to citizens warned, the maire, director general and several councillors were initially against its protection as Patrimoine and against the recognition of the Milieu Humide.

2.1) Patrimoine: The maire, director general and several councillors even tried to ignore the 2010 rapport: Inventaire du patrimoine bâti de la région de l’Outaouais, produced by the MRC Papineau in conjunction with Conférence régionale des élus de l’Outaouais  (CRÉO) and the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec (MCCCF):
"Site du domaine des Pères de Sainte-Croix, maison de repos et résidence, au 1565, du chemin des Pères. Valeur patrimoniale supérieure : Excellent état d’intégrité architecturale, excellent état de conservation, intérêt historique, intérêt architectural (chapelle, galerie en forme de proue de navire = éléments exceptionnels), grande valeur symbolique et identitaire."

In cooperation with Chantal Crete of the Association des propriétaires du secteur de la Baie Groulx, Les Peres Saint-Croix, was recognized as Patrimoine in January 2013. Instrumental was the tremendous work of Marie-France Bertrand from CLD Papineau and Catalina Gonzalez from Ministère de la Culture et des Communications (MCCCF).  They worked long hours with our director general Jacques Maille! BRAVO! 

2.2) A Priceless Moment: It was "piece of junk and should be torn down" was the refrain! As it was repeated to me, so too was it said in a meeting with government officials in September. The same dribblle! Would it not have been great to be in the room when our municipality was told that any individual could make a demand de classement!? I would love to see the bloody expression on their faces!? Moreover, I had already made that demand with the provincial government! See my provincial Demande de Classement letter to sous-ministre Sylvie Barcelo (posted September 17, 2012). When the municipality was told that ANY individual could make a demande de classement, they abruptly changed course; reluntantly embraced patrimoine!

Support from Michel Prévost, archiviste en chef de l’Université d’Ottawa et Président de la Fédération Histoire Québec, Michel Bégin de la Fondation Héritage Canada et directeur du CREO, Marie Roy, présidente de la Table Régionale du Patrimoine Religieux (TRPRO) was greatly appreciated!

Of special note is the continued support of Mylène Freeman (Member of Parliament of Canada for the riding of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel) and Alexandre Iraca (Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the riding of Papineau). Their support of Chantal was and continues to be tremendous!

2.3) Milieu Humide: 30 acres of the 48 acre site is a Milieux Humide. This is an ecological fact! Moreover, by MDDEFP criteria, it is characterized as high ecological value! Unfortunately, in the summer of 2012, our municipality denied publicly on a multitude of occasions (example: consultant Arthur Lionel FALSE statements @ consultation publiques for plan amenagement - August 11 and 12, 2012) the very existence of the milieu humide on Les Peres Saint Croix, this despite the fact of having commissioned in 2010 a rapport by Groupe Hemisphere (a top-tired Quebec environment consultant) that said there was a milieu humide. See the presentation of the rapport: Cartograhie des milieux humides!

So the municipality was denying a report commissioned and paid for by the municipality because it was getting in the way of a potential private development.  The municipality relented in September 2012 after decisions by both Jean Perreault at the MRC Papineau and Chantal Picard at the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs (MDDEFP) in Gatineau that advised the municipality that it recognized the rapport Groupe Hemisphere! HA!

Anyone that follows the blog, will have seen the previous public statements by the maire as well as the articles in Le Droit and La Petite Nation describing events last summer and fall. Some of the public statements by the maire were unbelievably ridiculous in fact and logic. (Gaston Trenblay FALSE statements in the presence of Jean-Pierre Aumond, père supérieur provincial de la Congrégation des Pères Sainte-Croix @ Les Peres Saint-Croix Consultation for the residents of Baie Groulx and Chemin Fanny - September 22, 2012)!

We fought along side the Association des Propriétaires du Lac Simon (APLS) and Association des propriétaires du secteur de la Baie Groulx, winning Milieu Humide recognition in September 2012 and gaining Patrimoine (Avis de Motion on October 5, 2012 and Adoption January 11, 2013) recognition!

Yet potential developers still want to bulldoze the building (worst case scenario) and construct homes in what should be a zone de conservation.  It is a magnificent site of immense beauty & tranquility. Moreover, it is the last virgin piece of land on either Lac-Simon and lac Barriere in our municipality. The 48 acres needs to be not only protected but also conserved for future generations. And, as reported by Groupe Hemisphere, there are endangered species of wild fauna and flora on the site! Can't we as a community ensure its conservation as a public space for all citizens!?

Our efforts continue!

3) Plan Amenagement: Like all municipalities, every few years we must continually update the zonage, lotissement, construction. In 2011 and 2012 the Comité consultatif d'urbanisme (CCU) updated the municipal Plan Amenagement just as the MRC Papineau is in the process of updating it Schema Amenagement. Here we need to thank the efforts of Lise Villeneuve & Geraldine Hutton for their tireless work (hundreds of hours) on the CCU. And very special thanks to former president of the Comité consultatif d'urbanisme, Pierre Belanger, who authored the Vision Strategique Lac-Simon 2035. He was rudely dismissed in 2011!

A new Plan Amenagement was adopted by the municipality in October 2012.

Both the Association des Propriétaires du Lac Simon & Association des propriétaires du secteur de la Baie Groulx submitted  memoires to the municipality in August 2012. Moreover, the APLS submitted a lengthy memoire (November 2012) to the MRC Papineau on a multitude of points of worry.

One of my major preoccupation was that the addition of a clause into our new Plan Amenagement to sabotage our remaining Milieu Humides. This is unacceptable. I have submitted complaints to the administration & to the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs (MDDEFP) arguing for the removal of that clause in our Plan Amenagement.

To be followed!  

4) Ile Canard Blanc: I am happy to announce that not only is the northern section of Ile Canard Blanc been zoned conservation in our new Plan Amenagement but also that Andre-Jacques Filion (in cooperation with Loto Quebec) has decided to protect and conserve the interior of the southern section of Ile Canard Blanc. As per his new web site,
"The Conservation Foundation of the Canard-Blanc Island, a charity organism, encourages everyone to contribute to the preservation and protection of 210,000 square meters on the southshore Canard-Blanc Island.  Your island needs you ! A draw of 125,000$ will be done for each 50,000 square meters protected.   For each ticket sold at the cost of 25.00$, the Foundation is committed to protecting one square meter."

We have come a long way from the public consultations (debarcadere consultations for the residents of Ile Canard Blanc - June 2010) with the residents of Ile Canard Blanc and the subsequent conseil vote (July 2010) with 4 YES (Paul Malouf, Gilles Robillard, Bob Johnson & Pierre Paquin) vs 2 NO (Richard Crete & Louise Houle) for a year long moratorium against the debarcadere!

See web site for details:  http://www.ilecanardblanc.com/

Let's wish Andre-Jacques Filion much success!

Let's conserve the entire interior of Ile Canard Blanc!

Conclusion: Clearly, all four subjects are separate but very connected - Hotel de Ville, Les Peres Saint-Croix, the Plan Amenagement and Ile Canard Blanc

The two common themes in the 4 subjects: 1) the commons. The municipality of Lac-Simon does not have enough common spaces. Going into the future, we need common spaces, community assets, like beaches & parks. 2) And clean water in a healthy lake.

Together we must remain vigilant and work together, with all our partners, to safeguard our lake and quality of life.

See you on the water!


PS: i am only getting started. The first 7 years have been fun! 

Many people constantly complain that the municipality of Lac-Simon has no common spaces (examples: beaches and/or parks) And yet these are the same people that criticize the making of any new commons! 

Andre-Jacques Filion deserves our support. The southern interior of Ile Canard Blanc needs to be protected and conserved for the public good just as the northern section, with Lac des Etoiles, has been. It needs to be set aside for the public, for future generations!

Second, Les Peres Saint-Croix needs to be protected and conserved for the public good! It also needs to be set aside for the public, for future generations!

Both these areas are our collective heritage, our patrimoine naturel!
We need these common spaces!

Third, we need a Quai Collectif Project (near the Town Hall) for the residents of Ile Canard Blanc! The residents of Ile Canard Blanc need a centralized location to dock their boats! It needs to happen NOW! Think of this: the homes on the Island are way ahead of their time: The homes on Ile Canard Blanc are off the grid! And they have been so for over 50 years! Why don't we ever celebrate this beautiful fact!? C'est une de nos richesses!

Fourth, this drive for common areas needs to continue. The municipality of Lac-Simon needs another beach. Maybe even another one after that! Our forefathers and past politicians, have lost if not stolen, much from the present, and future: They have allowed pretty much every square foot of lake front property to be developed with homes without putting aside enough common areas, like freaging beaches - for the kids to play and boaters to hang! It is a bloody travesty! We need a push for another beach NOW!

Fifth, Singer beach (albeit in Duhamel) on the east side of Riviere La Petite Nation needs to be open to boaters! Like it was when I was growing up! My childhood is full of memories of my parents taking us there by boat with a small hibachi BBQ. My teen years we would join boaters from all around the lake on the weekend, listen to music, drink beer, play volleyball & just hang all afternoon. Those were good times!

Moreover all this is for not if we don't have clean water in a healthy lake. Every house must have a good septic system, every property needs to protect their bande riveraine, we all must minimize sediment erosion, we must protect our mountain summits, and we must conserve the remaining milieu humides, etc... 
We have had a multitude of warning, notably in our bays: like Blue-Green Algae in Baie l'Ours in 2005, Red Algae in Baie Groulx and Blue-Green Algae in Baie Yelle in 2008 (All facts confirmed by MDDEFP). And every summer our boat hulls gets slimier, every summer our boat hulls get dirtier earlier in the season. Not a good sign!

Protect the Water!
Land First! Buildings Second!
We need to buy or set aside land first!
Afterwards we can build the buildings, buildings like a town halls and community centers should be at the end!
We must continue to think long term!

"We hold these Truths to be Self-Evident"

1 commentaire:

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