Saint Lazare mayor Robert Grimaudo says being re-elected Sunday to a full four-year term – rather than the 17-month mandate he’d filled when elected in June, 2012 following Pierre Kary’s resignation – will make all the difference in his goals for the town.
Admitting he is a “green mayor,” Robert Grimaudo, seen here during Saint Lazare’s last Arbor Day, was elected to a full four-year term Sunday.
Admitted ‘green mayor’ setting priorities early
“Now I can do what I’ve always wanted to do which is to involve the residents and citizens in the decision making of this town,” Grimaudo said Monday morning from his office at Saint-Lazare’s town hall.
One thing he’s already begun is a plan to separate the urbanism from environmental issues.
“They shouldn’t be the same department,” Grimaudo said. “Environment has to be part of everything.”
Admitting he had not yet spoken to Michel Lambert, who had served as a town councillor during Grimaudo’s mandate and who ran against him during the election, the new mayor said he was sure he would.
In a campaign fraught with rumors and accusations of wrongdoing aimed at Grimaudo (which were proven false) Grimaudo said he’s proud he never “sank to that level.”
He’s also pleased to have run a paper-less campaign.
“I’m very happy to see that a grassroots campaign can function completely without posters and no big dollars spent on advertising,” he noted.
Grimaudo credits the victory to a team of 25 “tireless foot soldiers who worked endlessly with me.”
He’s also pleased with a “quality pair of walking shoes” that saw the re-elected mayor through a walking marathon that included door-to-door visits to some 800 Saint Lazare homes.
Admitting that the incoming council includes only one returning councillor, Brigitte Asselin (Dist. 3) a member of Lambert’s Alliance Saint-Lazare team who was re-elected with 61.9-percent of votes, Grimaudo says he has full confidence he has an effective team. District 4 councillor Denis Briard, the only other Alliance Saint-Lazare member, was elected without opposition. The remaining four members of the new council are independents who Grimaudo nevertheless supported. They include: Lise Jolicoeur for Dist. 1 who garnered 50.2-percent of the vote; Pamela Tremblay with 76.61-percent; Serge David for Dist. 5 with 59.59-percent of votes; Dist. 6’s Richard Nataf with 53.73-percent of votes.
“We have new councillors who have never been involved in municipal politics… We’ll have a mix of experience and passion on council and councillors who have only the residents’ best interest in mind,” he said, adding Asselin and Briard will be welcomed at all working tables and caucus meetings.
“I have no animosity. The town has to work as a team; I would never think to exclude anyone from my team.”
Getting to work
The mayor and newly elected council are expected to be sworn in on Friday.
And the first council meeting will take place, exceptionally, on Nov. 19.
“We have some big decisions to get to right away,” Grimaudo said, referring to several large-scale projects on the agenda including: the building of a roundabout and a new fire hall, which needs to been financed. Council must also adopt a budget before the end of the year.
And at least one grassroots organization expects the newly elected council to save an old-growth forest in Saint Lazare.
The Friends of Dunes Lake, which has worked for the past several years to save the forest between the lake and the Bordelais Bog, rejoiced that what it called “a green council” had been elected.
“I would agree that we definitely have a green council,” Grimaudo said, adding he has a strategy for the Dunes Forest, as well as all forests in Saint Lazare.
“It’s a big dossier and will involve input from the public and residents,” he explained.
Grimaudo’s strongest election support came from Dist. 1, where he received over 82-percent of the vote, followed by Dist. 2, with 73-percent support. Both districts are situated in what is considered the Dunes Forest area. Grimaudo still did well in Dists. 3 and 4, where Asselin and Lambert served, garnering 46-percent and 45-percent votes respectively. He took 56-percent of the vote in Dist. 5, and 67-percent in Dist. 6.