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MAYOR’S MESSAGE TO RESIDENTS OF SAINT-LAMBERT: Daycare spots in Saint-Lambert, a priority!

Published on 21 Jul. 2022

On behalf of Saint-Lambert’s elected officials, Mayor Pascale Mongrain would like to offer the following message to the citizens of Saint-Lambert concerning the daycare centre project on the site of Préville Park pool:

“Over the past few months, and particularly during the last election campaign, our fellow citizens have told us about their immense need for daycare spots for their babies and young children. This need, expressed repeatedly, is confirmed by a waiting list that has now reached nearly 1,300 children for the Ville de Saint-Lambert.

Creation of daycare spots, an accelerated process

Jurisdiction over daycare services in Québec belongs to the Ministère de la Famille, which funds 100% of new daycare facilities and 90% of the annual budget of childcare centres. These childcare centres, known as CPE, are non-profit organizations.

In December 2021, the Ministère allowed the creation of 220 new spots in our city, 80 of which were allocated to the CPE de Saint-Lambert Agathe la Girafe for a new facility.

To accelerate the creation of these spots, the Ministère imposed a strict completion deadline of 24 months for projects granted in 2021. Agathe la Girafe is therefore obligated to complete its project by December 2023, failing which the 80 spots will be withdrawn.

After having explored several locations unsuccessfully, the CPE approached the City to investigate other options for its project.

The Préville swimming pool site: a site with tremendous advantages

At its June 13 public meeting, City Council unanimously resolved to offer the CPE the cemented area of Préville pool. The site has a number of advantages: it has no trees to be cut down, it will give children who attend the CPE access to a magnificent green space, and it will allow parents whose children also attend École Préville to benefit from the proximity of the two facilities. Council has also indicated to the CPE Agathe la Girafe that it would like to see the new spots offered in priority to Préville residents. Work to achieve that goal is already underway.

City Council is aware that the site presents traffic issues in front of École Préville. These issues are not specific to that sector, but are similar to those that exist around other schools in the city. That is why we have already announced our intention to immediately get to work on finding innovative solutions to alleviate the traffic issues around the site and École Préville, which could be adapted and implemented around other schools in the city.

Council is also committed to promoting sustainable mobility in the community and encouraging Saint-Lambert residents to reduce their car use and opt for alternative means of transportation, which would greatly improve traffic flow in the neighbourhood. This objective is perfectly consistent with the environmental issues of our time and the actions that cities can take to fight climate change.

Closing a swimming pool: a heartbreaking decision

It is not with a light heart that we made the decision to close the Préville pool for good. The city’s financial situation is very precarious and prevents us from reinvesting in its reconstruction, which would require an investment of $2.5 to $3 million. In addition, usage of the Préville pool is low, accounting for 15% of the total attendance at our city’s outdoor pools. This is likely due to the large number of residential swimming pools in this area of our city.

What’s next…

The CPE project still has several stages to go through before becoming a reality. We have already announced our intention to look into replacing the Alexandra Park pool and improving the Seaway Park pool (heating the water, for example). We also want to enhance the offer at our indoor swimming pool, which could, for instance, remain open longer in summer.

One thing is certain: we would like to consult Préville residents on the improvements and additions that could be made to Préville Park, beyond the splashpad we already announced publicly on June 16.

In closing, if citizens felt that we did not sufficiently explain the objectives and parameters of the project, we apologize and are truly sorry. Our municipal council made a decision in good faith that addresses a crying need for our young families. We remain convinced that this is a visionary project, in a very large park that is an ideal environment for young children.”

Some important facts
The elected officials also wish to remind the population of Saint-Lambert of some important facts relevant to the context of this file:

The condition of Préville pool
The Préville pool has been closed since July 2021. Activities previously held there were seamlessly transferred to our two other outdoor pools.
- The Préville pool cannot be repaired. According to estimates, it would cost $2.5 to $3 million to rebuild it.
- Attendance was very low, accounting for 15% of the total attendance at our 3 pools (35% at Alexandra and 50% at Seaway).
- The Alexandra pool is in an advanced state of disrepair. It also requires major investments. However, the city’s precarious financial situation precludes us from reinvesting in the construction of two outdoor swimming pools.
- With two outdoor pools (Alexandra and Seaway), the population of Saint-Lambert remains very well served, with a ratio of 1 swimming pool/11,300 inhabitants. Compared this with other comparable cities:
--- Town of Mount Royal: 1 swimming pool/21,000 inhabitants (1 swimming pool)
--- Westmount: 1 swimming pool/20,000 inhabitants (1 pool)
--- Saint-Bruno: 1 swimming pool/26,000 inhabitants (1 pool)
--- Boucherville: 1 swimming pool/21,000 inhabitants (2 pools)
--- Brossard: 1 swimming pool/15,000 inhabitants (6 pools)

The sale of the lot and the zoning of Préville Park
- Based on the rules laid out by the Ministère de la Famille, the sale of the lot to the CPE must be on the basis of the land value. As a proportion of the 2022 property evaluation of the entire park, the lot in question has a value of $560,000.
- The re-zoning of the land was included in the overhaul of our urban planning tools with the addition of a “daycare” use to the “park” use for this zone. The eventual subdivision of the land over the next few months will allow us to redefine the park area and to prohibit any other use than that of a park around the CPE.
- At the request of the Ministère, soil tests must be carried out. We are still waiting for the results.
- According to the Ministère's requirements, the demolition of the swimming pool and the eventual decontamination of the lot will be the responsibility of the City. Under government regulations, this work would have been necessary anyway in the context of the decision to permanently close the pool.

Public consultations and transparency
- As part of the project to overhaul our urban planning by-laws, we also made a commitment to consult citizens and to listen to them. A large number of citizens took part in the public consultations: 160 people attended the three public sessions, more than 700 people viewed the sessions, and we received more than 60 briefs.
- We have listened and made many changes desired by citizens, including height restrictions in certain areas.
Piscine Préville
Préville pool
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