Today, Friday, at mid-afternoon, Hudson’s blue collar crew was scrambling to block off part of Cameron after discovering part of the shoulder had collapsed into the culvert that drains the pond opposite what used to be Pine Lake.
Closer inspection revealed a two-foot hole in the the concrete culvert.
As of 3 p.m. the crew had reduced Cameron to a single lane, forcing traffic to alternate. A traffic light has been set up.
The culvert collapse is the latest development in the four-year saga that began shortly after this administration took power. Sometime over the 2013 winter, water began flowing under the Pine Lake dam. By this time that spring, the Viviry had undercut the dam, causing it to slump and threatening to wash both it and Cameron downstream.
The town dumped a few truckloads of stone to stabilize the dam (and placate an angry Pine Lake resident) while the three-year debate got moving to determine what should be done. Two surveys and an advisory committee recommendations later, the town is no closer to a solution than it was when the dam break was discovered.
Last week, the mayor told a local paper the environment ministry no longer considers Pine Lake a lake. It’s now a wetland, with a whole new set of rules regarding what can be done.
Ironically, Pine Lake is back to being a lake after several days of rain and a fast melt in the Viviry watershed. As of this afternoon, water is pouring over the dam for the first time in months as well as underneath it. The possibility that the dam could be washed out was what brought public works to check on it regularly.
The Pine Lake dam fiasco has become a hallmark of the Prévost administration’s inability to get things done. A consultant’s study concluded that the dam could not stay the way it was and needed remediation, replacement or removal, with costs ranging from $200,000 to $600,000. Another expert’s report concluded the town needs a retention basin to buffer the growing annual volume of water heading into Hudson from upstream. Pine Lake residents threatened lawsuits. A citizens’ advisory committee proposed several scenarios. One of the least expensive was the proposal above. Why wasn’t it acted upon? Ask the mayor and council.
This is where we came in, folks. The current council spent four years and something like $100,000 to arrive at today’s sorry mess. If anyone on council has re-election aspirations, they’ll have to explain this abysmal failure to prioritize.