Mayor to request deferral of land expropriation for new LaSalle fire station

AM800-NEWS-Canadiana-Auto-Museum-LaSalle-September-2021

The mayor of LaSalle plans to request a deferral over the proposed acquisition of lands for a second fire station in the town.

At issue is a plan to expropriate a piece of property that includes the Canadiana and Auto Museum at 995 Laurier Drive, right at the corner of Matchette Road.

The property is owned by 67-year-old Dianne Gault, who's home is also on the land.

She says she received a letter from the town in June with an offer to buy the land, which she rejected, calling the offer a "pittance" for her property.

Gault says on Friday she received a letter from the town that council would pass a draft by-law to expropriate her property.

Mayor Marc Bondy will request the deferral at the Sept. 28 meeting of council to allow administration to present a detailed report including background information, site selection and land acquisition about the development of a second fire station at a future meeting.

Gault says she was shocked when her lawyer received the expropriation letter on Friday..

"I was shocked, first of all, how underhanded it was done and how quickly they're trying to pass this."

Bondy says they are following up on the Fire Master Plan that says the best west-end location for a new fire station is around Matchette Road and Laurier Parkway.

"The decision was made in-camera sometime in late spring or early summer to start negotiations to purchase the property," he continued. "I believe an offer was made and now we're going with the appropriation process."

Gault says she went door-to-door after receiving the expropriation letter to let people know what was happening and that she didn't want to move.

"The general public, as I talked to hundreds and hundreds of people, didn't know about it either. I may have talked about in the Town of LaSalle agenda council meeting, but I think they need to let the people know what's happened," she said.

Bondy says he's going to ask for a deferral on the issue.

"Maybe we didn't do the proper notification to the local resident, but I'm going to ask for a report to come back from administration highlighting the details in relation to the proposed fire station."

Gault says she's lived on the property for 30 years and this is her livelihood.

"If they take this away, I would not be able to operate and make a living anywhere else because I'm grandfathered in and I'm allowed to do, what I do because I'm grandfathered in," Gault said.

If the deferral is approved by council, it's expected that the report will be scheduled on an agenda at the end of October or in November.