LaSalle’s local emergency plan

By Tracey Arial

In the wake of Lac Mégantic, LaSalle resident Joseph Pugliese’s question about local security plans in the wake of a train disaster at the April borough council meeting seem prescient. At the time, Mayor Manon Barbe mentioned that the borough has an industrial committee to ensure that communications in the wake of a major accident work well.

“City emergency services will take the lead and the borough will take care of the people,” said Pierre Dupuis, LaSalle’s clerk and director of communications. “We take care of communicating with them, and evacuating them if need be.”

Representatives from all levels of government and major companies volunteer their time on the committee, which meets several times a year.

Industrial committee members

Members of the board are: co-presidents Rémi Saulnier from Fleischmann Yeast; Myriam Fernet from the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal; LaSalle city councillor Alvaro Farinacci; Développement économique LaSalle director Jacques Fortin; Josée Sweeney from Arborite Canada; and Nicolas Gaudreault from Labatt Breweries.

Members include: Marc Reiss from Weir Canada; Nicolae Florea from Total Canada; Réal Adams from Produits chimiques Delmar; Régent Bédard from Produits de construction BP Canada; and LaSalle borough human resources officer Josée Boulanger.

Consultative members include: Bruno Lachance from the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal; Marie-Josée Garant from the Centre de sécurité civile; LaSalle police chief Pierre Liboiron; Salah Berro from Environment Canada; and Joanie Gaudreault from Développement économique LaSalle.

Public information
Most of the public information about LaSalle’s industrial committee appears on the borough’s economic development site. That’s because the emergency preparedness plan began in 1997 as a way to deal with possible industrial disasters, particularly those that would expose populations to toxic gases.

Since then, the plan has expanded to include other emergency situations.

Planning for train-related emergencies
Dupuis says that LaSalle’s plan includes the possibility of evacuating Borough Hall, which isn’t far from the train tracks. In that case, emergency services would be established on Cordner Street at the east end of the borough.

Since the train disaster, LaSalle Mayor Barbe has written to Lac Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche to offer condolences and support.

She’s also written to Côte Saint Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather to confirm that she gives him her entire support in his efforts to get the federal government to disclose the materials being transported on trains to the communities they pass through.

There has also been correspondence between Barbe and Mayor Guy Pilon of Vaudreauil-Dorion. Barbe fully supports Pilon’s efforts to get the federal government to lower the speeds of CP and the CN trains when they pass through local communities.

“Mayor Barbe wrote to him to give him her full support on that issue,” said Dupuis. “We would like trains to lower their speeds in LaSalle and all the urban areas.”

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