‘We need new blood’ say residents
In a move that surprised few, Saint-Lazare councillor Brigitte Asselin was chosen during Tuesday’s regular town council meeting to assume duties of pro-mayor after Pierre Kary suddenly stepped down last Sunday.
A motion to have Asselin replace Nathalie Richard, who had been the designated pro-mayor since 2009, was proposed and seconded during the meeting. The town’s council has had a long and divided history, leaving Richard and Councillor Gilbert Arsenault even more in a minority position now that Kary is gone. The two often face opposition on issues from Asselin and fellow councillors Michel Lambert, Jean-Claude Gauthier and Jean-Pierre Giguère.
Richard showed little emotion when the motion to have Asselin replace her came up early in the evening. She finished the meeting in her official capacity.
But Saint-Lazare resident Heidi Niderost, who said she liked the way Kary ran things, thinks it’s time for some “new blood” in the town.
“I’m not certain my interests are being well represented... Those (councillors) who represent me have no power,” she said.
Calling the majority councillors “the four cowboys,” Niderost said she often feels the councillors have an agenda with little room for compromise.
“The alliance of four run the show,” she noted, saying she has regularly attended council meetings for the past few months.
Linda Salvati encouraged fellow residents to attend the monthly meetings in order to help things change.
“We need to show a presence and make our councillors accountable,” she said, adding, “You can get away from watching T.V. for a few hours and help make a difference.”
Both women hope new candidates will decide to run for the mayoral seat. According to provincial law, Saint-Lazare residents will head to the polls to elect a new mayor sometime before the end of June.Garage sale bylaw revisited
Meanwhile, several residents used the question period to express their displeasure of a recently changed garage sale bylaw. During the March town council meeting, a by-law concerning garage sales was adopted that restricts residents to holding the sales just two weekends each year: Victoria Day and Labour Day.
Garage sales are no longer permitted outside of those dates. Anyone caught contravening the new rules will be fined.
The decision made national news headlines and moved scores of residents to call, email and post mostly negative comments on the town’s Facebook site.
“Even if I wanted to have a garage sale, I wouldn’t do it during those two weekends when people go away,” said one woman during the meeting.
Others told the town council they wanted the decision reversed.
Councillors said they would re-examine the issue during the next working table, taking place at the end of the month.