August 14, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

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Almost 160 houses built without permission: Sainte-Julienne mayor in trouble

The mayor of the Sainte-Julienne municipality in Lanaudiere has been defying his own town’s regulations for years as the owner of a camping site where some 160 residences were built without any permits.

Even worse, elected officials and city administration have known about this situation since the first works began in the early 2000s.

The Commission Municipal du Québec’s municipal integrity investigations and prosecutions department’s investigative report, just released, puts Richard Desormiers at the center of the storm for months already.

Mr. refused to answer our questions. Desormières was elected mayor of Saint-Julien in 2021, after serving as a municipal councilor since 2013. He is also the owner of Domaine de la Pride Campsite located in the same municipality.

After the citizens noticed the logging, they started asking questions and last March the full municipal council learned that the campsites were built without permission, the trees were cut without authorization and it was a forest reserve. Homes range in value from $5,600 to $255,000.

As shown by some of the photos released in the investigative report, many of the residences had no connection to the mobile home.

The Commission Municipal du Québec (CMQ) reminds home and land owners that they can be fined up to $5,000 per violation. And every day a building is constructed without permission is a new offence. Thus the fines pile up and the bill becomes particularly salty. High Court can also order demolition of houses.

However, CMQ reminds that it is up to the city to impose these fines or seize the court to stop the construction and demolish the construction (citizens can also use this last resort).

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The report added that it would be difficult to change the municipal law to approve already built houses because it does not respect the MRC’s development plan, which prohibits residential developments such as Domaine de la Pride in the forest. .

The mayor was aware of his irregular situation, the report says, and he never attempted to comply. Instead, he was satisfied with “demanding” that the municipality find a solution. However, taxpayers must ensure compliance with regulations and a city has no obligation to bring residential development already built without a permit into compliance, can we read?

The municipality knows

“The investigation could not prove why at all [les élus et l’administration] “He tolerated the situation without asking questions or trying to ascertain the extent of the residential development,” the report continued.

“We were content to collect municipal taxes without worrying about compliance.” A municipal councilor also lives in the camp.

Jean Polloni, communications strategist who supports the city’s public administration in the administration of the file, clarified that the current public administration is in place from March 2021 and has been aware of the situation since last summer.

“The municipal administration is completing a complete report to establish the status of the actions taken by the municipality and its intervention plan, within the framework of the Domaine de la Pride file. This report will be submitted to the MRC de Montcalm Council. Therefore, we will not comment further on the case,” he said.