New Council Gets Orientation Bus Tour and First-Hand Look at Champlain’s Key Issues

Township of Champlain, December 16, 2022 - The new Council of the Township of Champlain was given a tour of the municipal facilities on Thursday, December 15, led by the department heads and the Acting CAO, to discuss and demonstrate the various issues and future investments for the municipal facilities.

"The purpose of these tours, which began at Town Hall, is to allow the Department Heads to show the various municipal facilities and demonstrate the different issues and problems. It is also an opportunity to explain the major investments that will have to be made during the next mandate. These orientation visits complement the various presentations made by the department heads which allow the Council members to make informed choices and to be able to answer the residents' questions." explains Kevin Tessier, Acting Chief Administrative Officer/Treasurer. Mr. Tessier also informs Council members that the administration is currently considering different options to bring all administrative services under the same roof and avoid having two different municipal offices. This would solve many administrative and IT issues, improve customer service and reduce costs.

Public Works

The tour began at the L'Orignal Wastewater Treatment Plant. The site-tour visit was presented by the Ontario Clean Water Agency, which is responsible for the management and operation of our water and sewer system. The agency explained that the programmable logic controller (PLC) must be replaced when the equipment reaches the end of its life. The cost to replace the PLC is approximately $175,000. The PLC allows automatic control of the treatment process based on information taken from the process. Without it, a staff would have to be on-site 24/7 to manually ensure the wastewater treatment system is working correctly.

The bus then proceeded to the L'Orignal water tower. The water tower is a tank that helps regulate water pressure and serves to secure the water system. Accompanied by the Ontario Clean Water Agency, Public Works Director Sebastien Levesque explained that the protective paint on the tower was due for repainting, as it had not been done since its construction in 1974. This work is necessary to prevent the metal walls from weakening and the tower from breaking. An estimate of the work was made in 2019, before the pandemic and inflation, and the work was estimated at $1.9 million. The administration will work closely with the various levels of government to be eligible for grants to fund this project.

The bus stopped at various subdivision projects, such as Habitations Robert in Vankleek Hill and Aloha in Longueuil, as well as at various intersections and road issues that require significant repairs related to safety and water accumulation. An external agency scans all the roads every 5 years to assess the condition of the road. It assigns a score to help determine the highest priority roads for repair. Pattee Road and Eldemer Street intersection, the Aloha Project roads, and Perreault Street are all prioritized for repair in 2023, as they all have scores below 45.

Like other municipal facilities that have not been improved in decades, the municipal garage on Pleasant Corner Road is no exception. Champlain Township is fortunate to have an experienced mechanic who saves the municipality several thousand dollars in repair and garage costs. However, the garage space is very limited, and it also does not meet building and fire standards. A Municipal Asset Management Plan for all municipal buildings must be completed by July 2024, a requirement of the provincial government. This will assess the condition of all buildings and provide a detailed plan to improve the facilities.

Parks and Recreation

Council members and management then headed to Sacha's Park, a park founded in memory of Sacha Chenier, an 11-year-old boy who lived in L'Orignal. He was severely affected by cerebral palsy. During his lifetime, Sacha could not play in most parks as they were not wheelchair accessible. Sacha's family has pledged $75,000 to purchase the park's property, and the balance of funding for equipment and landscaping was obtained through community fund-raising efforts and grants. Lisa Burroughs, Director of Parks and Recreation, explained to Council members the various issues related to parking and the reality of rubber structures that require a lot of maintenance with winter thaw/ freeze.

While visiting L'Orignal Park, Ms. Lisa Burroughs presented the different facilities and the different uses that this park has, which cause many problems during the year. The park covers 18.35 acres and has three tennis courts, a beach, a boat launch, a small community hall, a campground, a baseball field, an outdoor skating rink and a BMX park. During the campground tour, the Councillors understood the reasons related to the campers' complaints about baseballs falling on their properties, considering the proximity of the two facilities, despite having taken all preventive measures such as the additional installation of protective nets around its perimeter. Moreover, being limited in terms of lots, the campground, even with all the lots being rented, is never cost-effective with 58 lots. Several significant investments are also needed for the underground water system at the campground. Ms. Burroughs explained that the Parks and Recreation Master Plan planned for the year 2024 would identify the investments required in the communities while considering the priorities to ensure that the Parks and Recreation Department continues to play an active role in positioning Champlain Township as a great place to live.

Fire Services

Mr. Ghislain Pigeon, director of the fire department, gave a tour of the two fire stations of Champlain. The fire station of L'Orignal, formerly a municipal garage, will require, in the near future, a major investment as the building needs to meet the standards of the building code and standards for fire stations. As for the Vankleek Hill fire station, some maintenance work is to be expected to extend the life of the fire station. Finally, Mr. Pigeon explained to the members of the Council that two trucks will have to be replaced as they are from 2002.

Champlain Public Library

The orientation tour ended at the Champlain Public Library. Mr. Levesque presented the issues that were addressed during the closure of the library and the repairs that were made. He also took the opportunity to explain that the exterior brick façade will have to be redone in 2024-2025. Research will be done in 2023 to ensure that the "vintage red brick" style is retained.


  • Header Picture: Champlain Council and Staff with the Ontario Clean Water Agency in front of L'Orignal Wastewater Treatment Plant. From left to right - Mario Hetier, OCWA; Aimée Hennessy, OCWA; Normand Riopel, Mayor; Sebastien Levesque, Director of Public Works; Kevin Tessier, Treasurer and Acting CAO; Karla Barton, Deputy-Clerk; Ginette Clément, Councillor; Gerry Miner, Councillor; Sarah Bigelow, Councillor; Lisa Burroughs, Director of Parks and Recreation; Michel Lalonde, Councillor; Alison Collard, Clerk; Paul Burroughs, Councillor; Jennifer Laforest, Senior Planner; Paul Emile Duval, Councillor; Sebastien Cadieux, OCWA; Maxime Bougie, Building Official.
  • Picture 1: Presentation of Greg Esdale, from EVB Engineering, explaining the work that has been done and need to be done at the Vankleek Hill Arena.
  • Picture 2: Presentation of Lisa Burroughs, Director of Parks and Recreation, at Sacha's Park.
  • Picture 3: Presentation of Sebastien Levesque, Director of Public Works, at L'Orignal water tank.
  • Picture 4: Presentation of Sebastien Levesque at Champlain Public Library.
  • Picture 5: Presentation of Ghislain Pigeon, Director of Fire Services, at L'Orignal Fire Hall.
EVB Engineering presentation of the work to the VKH arena
Director of Public Works presentation at Sachas Park
Council listening to the Water tank presentation
Director of Public Works presentation of Library
Director of Fire Services presentation