LaSalle residents call on town to halt plans for a new fire hall that would demolish a car museum

A petition calling on the Town of LaSalle to stop its plan to expropriate the property on 995 Laurier Drive for a second fire station is gaining traction.

“They’re not only taking my home, they’re taking my life-long business,” says Dianne Gault, owner of the Laurier Drive property, known as the Canadiana Auto Museum.

“We have been here for 46 years, my husband bought it in 1975. This is my blood, sweat and tears.”

Gault says she received a letter from the Town of LaSalle in June, seeking to expropriate and demolish her property to make way for second fire hall.

“It was a ridiculous offer to purchase and they wanted me out by Sept. 1,” she says. “I couldn’t move even if I wanted to.”

Gault hired a lawyer and rejected the offer, but received another letter from the town last week informing her town council will meet on Sept. 28 to pass a bylaw for expropriation. The expropriation consideration was posted on the town’s agenda, but local residents say they are frustrated because they didn’t receive a notice.

“I got no notification and I’m just up the road. I had to hear it second hand from someone else,” LaSalle resident Elaine Pearce says.

“None of the neighbours got a letter, not one. When talk to people, they don’t know about this. Why is it a secret?” asks Gault.

This isn’t the first time the proposed location of a second fire hall has been a hot topic.

In 2017, town council rejected a proposal to build a new station where John Dupuis Park is now. One of the main concerns was the safety, noting speeding fire trucks and playing children don’t mix.

With Lafferty Park located right behind the Canadiana Auto Museum, Gault says the same issue poses a threat at her location.

“It’s a dangerous intersection. It’s a busy park,” she says.

In a statement released Monday, the Town of LaSalle says at the Sept. 28 council meeting, Mayor Marc Bondy will request deferral of the bylaw to acquire certain lands for a second fire station development.

“The deferral will be requested 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,” the statement says. “It is expected that the report will be scheduled on an agenda at the end of October or in November.”