Marie-Christine Trottier and
While Quebec as a whole were concerned about the pandemic of sars coronavirus, a number of major there were very little waves. Public contracts whose prices are exploding, high-level officials dismissed for breach of confidence, building a tower controversial. Our Bureau of investigation has listed the decisions of the cities or of the government which would normally have made headlines, but that went under the radar in recent weeks.
Green light to a tower in spite of the grumbling
In full pandemic, the Borough of Verdun in Montreal has given the green light to the construction of a tower of 44 storeys and a building of 13 floors to the Pointe-South of the district, The Île-des-soeurs.
Plans for a new tower project Symphonia have been officially approved at the municipal council on 5 may, despite the grumbling from several residents in the area.
City councillors have also testified during the webcast of the board, noting that they had no other choice than to vote for the project, even if they did not agree with the proponent’s plans.
In fact, according to the mayor Jean-François Parenteau, the District has no way to thwart the construction of this tower, since the zoning for the current gives all rights to the promoter to allow him to build such a project.
For example, there is no regulation governs the height of buildings on Nuns ‘ island.
Also, the District would be exposed to prosecution if he had tried to change the rules, argues the mayor Parenteau, who is said to have attempted to do so, which has earned the administration, the implementation of a $ 130 million.
“If there are people not happy with them, I understand. But it is not we who have decided on the rules at the time, ” said Mr. Parenteau.
Director-general, fired with a generous bonus
At the time many citizens were concerned about the magnitude that took the pandemic, the City of Sainte-Adèle, in the Laurentians, has announced, at the beginning of April, she had thanked her director-general, Pierre Dionne, due to a ” breach of confidence “.
This termination is accompanied by severance of one year salary with benefits, is approximately $ 150,000. According to our information, the ex-director-general has decided to challenge the value of this bonus provided for in his employment agreement.
Why was it necessary to dismiss him and now the DG, who was still in post since 2010, and whose contract was to expire in 2022 ?
Attached to the phone, the mayor Nadine Briere remained discreet on this subject, since the terms of departure of the ex-DG are still in dispute to this day.
But she said that it was a conscious decision and not a whim.
“We no longer had the same vision […]. We are talking here about a failure of confidence, but not misconduct is serious, ” said Ms. Brière.
Insults are prohibited in Saint-Lambert ?
A curious regulation was submitted to Saint-Lambert the city council on April 20. It has been proposed to amend the current regulations on the “nuisance” to add a clause providing that any injury or insult to a peace officer, an elected official or a city employee is now an offence punishable by a fine of up to $ 300 in case of recurrence.
The mayor Pierre Brodeur refused to comment on the record. For its part, the City of the South Shore of Montreal we have not yet determined a specific date for the adoption of this draft regulation.
Recall that the mayor of Saint-Lambert has found himself on the hot seat in the past few months when our Office of investigation has revealed that the administration had commissioned private investigators, in July last, to interview elected officials after the information leak in a local newspaper. Their e-mails had also been spied upon.
Following these revelations, the minister of municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest, was asked by the integrity commissioner civic and ethical to investigate the subject.
Recycling costs more expensive
Just before the appearance of the COVID-19, the operator of the sorting centres of Montreal, Saguenay, and Châteauguay, solid Waste, canada (RSC), had initiated bankruptcy proceedings. The government of Quebec had agreed to pay $ 7 million to maintain the service to the citizens until may.
On the 1st of April, in the midst of a pandemic, Quebec has increased the amount loaned to the company to$ 9 Million.
To the City of Montreal, the costs also increased in connection with this bankruptcy. Mid-April, the city council has approved a six-month contract for collecting bins on the street, in the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, at a cost of$ 1.6 Million. It is nearly double, which was requested by RSC. There was only one compliant bidder.
For the boroughs of Lachine and Ville-Marie, where RSC was to collect, no company has shown.
The City has therefore had to solicit businesses and has awarded a contract without tender.
She has also requested a waiver to Quebec city to exceed the limit of $ 100,000 is allowed to conclude a contract by mutual agreement.
Ten times less watering in the forests infested
Even the nature bailer of the consequences of the COVID-19. The Society for the protection of forests against insects and diseases (SOPFIM) announced that it would restrict its action to protect the forests infested by the budworm spruce this summer.
It provided water to an organic pesticide 670 184 hectares of forest, but only 111 of 550 hectares will be treated. The SOPFIM said to have made this decision, because it could not guarantee a ” work environment 100 % safe to its employees due to the coronavirus.
Therefore, there will be less watering in the forests infested by the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord.
The budget goes from 53 to $ 23 million.
“I call on the government to reverse this decision. The regions of Gaspésie, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord can’t afford to let the epidemic destroying the forests that constitute the livelihood of thousands of families “, denounced in a statement the spokesman of the Parti québécois in the field of forests, Sylvain Roy.
The SOPFIM swear you have made this decision independently and that there was “no danger” in the long term for the forest of quebec despite a reduced program of watering this summer.
Budget cut to Nicolet
The City of Nicolet, in Centre-du-Québec, has cancelled the budget that it reserved each year to citizens to fund their initiatives and ideas, as works of art or infrastructure of the park.
Put in place in 2017, the participatory budget citizen has a budget equivalent to 1 % of the budget of the City for projects that are created and chosen by the population. This year, a total of $ 145,000 had been scheduled to give carte blanche to the residents, but the project was cancelled in mid-April, at the last minute, in full health crisis.
“We have taken this decision after careful consideration. We thought that it might be difficult to get citizen participation in a context of a pandemic, ” said the mayor Geneviève Dubois, who has promised to pay the sums provided to the bodies of Nicolet in trouble.
The pandemic is benefiting a disputed project
The City of Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval, in the region of the Capitale-Nationale region, is returned to the load to help pass a controversial project in the midst of a crisis of health, reported The Journal de Québec on April 27.
Last fall, the opposition of several citizens had forced the City to waive the holding of a referendum on a draft unloved involving the construction of eight buildings.
However, on march 22, ministerial order related to the pandemic has led to a relaxation of the rules of consultation of the population. The City was able to make it to the end of April to the zoning changes needed for the project, which had been strongly criticised by citizens in the fall.
In an interview with The Journal de Québec, the mayor Carl Thomassin has justified this approach by the ” economic emergency “.
“I know it hurt citizens, but to manage it, it is that too. Because of the pandemic, we can see that the anticipated revenues will not be at the rendezvous. We need to act today to not reach the end of the year with a deficit. Housing for rent, it is not in Sainte-Brigitte, and there was a great demand for it. The needs are urgent, ” he said.
The potholes are more expensive to Sorel-Tracy
The potholes are more expensive this spring in Sorel-Tracy, in the Montérégie region. Invoking the urgency to act, the mayor Serge Péloquin has used the exceptional powers of expenditure, as permitted by Law on cities and towns in the event of a crisis to modify a contract for the repair of potholes, on the 6th of April.
Sorel-Tracy is now paying 12 % more expensive per metric tonne of asphalt than what was expected.
“The City has determined that it was a case of force majeure for the contractor. After negotiations with the company, we agreed to pay a higher price per ton of asphalt. However, the contract is limited to $ 175,000. In other words, we will carry out the work that we can within the limits of this budget, ” said spokesman Dominic Cuff.
The contractor hired by the City, PermAroute, has argued in Sorel-Tracy that the operation of patching of potholes cost more because of the rules of distance physical.
For example, it has had to increase the number of trucks on the road, so that every employee is alone in his vehicle.
The cost of the asphalt would also be on the rise.
Return of a deputy minister’s controversial
The former deputy minister of Transportation Dominique Savoie has resurfaced in recent weeks when it was noised that he was offered a position as a director of State management of health care resources.
This appointment was a surprise since the Coalition avenir Quebec had been critical of Ms. Savoie in the past. The latter had made the headlines in 2016 when she was deputy minister for Transport and that the department was splashed by allegations of irregularities.
He was accused in particular of having turned a blind eye on some practices questionable within the department. Returned in the aftermath, Ms. Savoie had been sent to the Secretariat for the jobs above, which she continued to touch his annual salary of $ 210,000.
She then returned to government as deputy minister of Energy and natural Resources.
More transparency in the spending
Now, all the members of the national Assembly will have the obligation to disclose their expenses every year, as we reported on 11 may.
Accommodation costs, travel between the parliament and the constituency, rent, cost of participation in conferences and symposia ; the members should exercise transparency and be accountable for these expenses that were not public until now.
The president of the Chamber, François Paradis, had been promised actions in this direction in 2018, after that our Office of investigation lifted the veil on several large expenditures of the ex-president of the national Assembly, Jacques Chagnon.
Laval, pays millions of dollars to a developer
On 5 may, The Press + revealed that an agreement out of court was reached between the proponent Aldo Coviello and Laval, the latter to pay compensation of$ 7.2 Million to end the prosecution of 66,3 M$ brought by the developer of the proposed condominium towers The Commodore.
The agreement also provides that Laval acquires the lands to the Commodore in exchange for other lands of the City.
Mayor Marc Demers had long proclaimed that the unlawful conduct occurred in this folder under the reign of the ex-mayor Gilles Vaillancourt.
He had even brought a folder to the Unité permanente anti-corruption, which remained a dead letter. The ambitious project was ultimately never saw the light of day.