Montreal

Chambly placed under trusteeship following UPAC raids

Municipal Affairs Minister Andrée Laforest made the announcement Wednesday, hours after the province's anti-corruption unit began executing search warrants at Chambly City Hall and other municipal buildings.

City hall, administrative centre and public works building all targeted in Wednesday's police operation

UPAC officers carry out a raid in Chambly, Que. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

Given the many recent controversies involving Chambly, Que., the province's minister of municipal affairs says the municipality southeast of Montreal is being placed under trusteeship.

Andrée Laforest made the announcement Wednesday, hours after the province's anti-corruption unit began executing search warrants at Chambly City Hall and two other municipal buildings.

"For me, there is no doubt that the bond of trust between the citizens of Chambly and their municipal administration is broken," Laforest stated in an email to CBC.

The city hall and the administrative centre are both cordoned off with orange, UPAC-branded tape. The municipal garage, where public works is headquartered, is also being searched.

Investigators were seen carrying folded cardboard boxes into city hall. UPAC has not confirmed what investigators are looking for or what they have found.

Opposition Coun. Alexandra Labbé told Radio-Canada that she was "shocked" and "intrigued" by the operation.

"We can't wait to know, and for the citizens to know, what is really happening at the city."

Quebec's anti-corruption unit has roped off Chambly City Hall. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

The raids are just the latest issue in Chambly, about 30 kilometres southeast of downtown Montreal.

In November, a Radio-Canada report brought to light allegations of a hostile work environment at city hall. Then, a historical landmark was demolished despite a promise from Mayor Denis Lavoie to save it.

Lavoie has been on sick leave since November.

City spokesperson Micheline Le Royer said she spoke to Lavoie, who is out of town, earlier Wednesday.

Lavoie told her he was surprised by the events, and he will collaborate with investigators, she said.

With files from CBC's Jay Turnbull and Cathy Senay

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