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Caisse’s light-rail project threatens to disrupt Deux-Montagnes

Create: 09/19/2016 - 21:40

The Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec’s ambitious $5.5 billion plan to give the Montreal region an electrified light-rail train network by the year 2020 is generating fallout in the City of Deux-Montagnes where some of the project’s infrastructure work may end up disrupting the lives of residents.
Expropriations pending
During question period at the Sept. 8 city council meeting, Catherine David, who owns a residence on du Lac Blvd., said that she and other property owners on the street recently received letters from the Caisse de Dépôt informing them that their homes lie within a zoned area where expropriations could take place in order to accommodate the light-rail train project.
“This is close to my heart, I grew up in Deux-Montagnes, this is difficult for me this evening,” said David, visibly shaken up by the prospect that one of the two homes she owns in Deux-Montagnes stands to be demolished to make way for a parking lot. “What I want to know is what this project will do for our citizens here and what the city will be telling us about this project. I’d like to know the support we’ll be getting from the city and what impact it’s going to have.
In the dark about impact
“I still don’t understand exactly what they’re doing,” she continued. “We are nine people in the same area on boulevard du Lac who received the same letter. We’re just trying to understand. Yes, this is something personal for me, but it’s also personal for the whole city to know what this is going to bring us financially. If this project brings us in something financially long-term, even if I lose my house, I want to hear from the city what we’ll be getting from it.”
While Mayor Denis Martin maintained that the city has received relatively little information from the Caisse on the project, David said she attended an information meeting on Aug. 29 where the organizers said they were in weekly contact with the affected municipalities.
The mayor responded that “the reason we weren’t there was that we wanted the citizens to express themselves. If representatives of the city had been there, the people would have turned towards us. I can tell you here in public that there’s nothing we can do.”
‘Repercussions’ coming, says mayor
In an interview following the council meeting, the mayor acknowledged that the Caisse’s project “will have repercussions on some of our citizens.” According to terms of the project, the Caisse de dépôt will be taking over the rail line now operated by the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) between Deux-Montagnes and Montreal, with a loop leading to Montreal’s international airport in Dorval, and another leading southward to Brossard on Montreal’s South Shore.
According to the mayor, three streets in Deux-Montagnes where there currently are level crossings – du Lac Blvd., Henri-Dunant and Deux-Montagnes Blvd. – stand to be significantly impacted as the frequency of the new rail system’s high-speed trains will require the closing of the level crossings.
“In the beginning they were looking at closing two or three of those streets, but it would have cut the city in half,” he told the North Shore News. “We’re analyzing and trying to influence, saying that this is the impact for some of our citizens, especially with regards to circulation.”
Ceremony for firemen
Also at the beginning of the council meeting, a special recognition ceremony to highlight the exceptional work of specific firefighters from the Intermunicipal Deux-Montagnes/Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac Fire Safety Service was held. Mathieu Poulin was taking part in the “Course de la famille de Deux-Montagnes” when he fell gravely ill as he approached the finish line on July 17.
Firefighters on hand to provide first aid during the event took charge of Poulin quickly and efficiently. He expressed his tremendous gratitude at the ceremony to the firefighters who came to his rescue. “Words cannot express how grateful I am,” he said. “If you had not been there, I know I would not be here today for my wife and two boys.”
Also signed the guest book
“We’re all here to congratulate our firefighters for their outstanding work,” said Mayor Denis Martin. Firefighters honoured at the ceremony were: Ron Hunt, Michel Thibault, Bradley Mills, Philippe Côté, Nicolas L’Espérance, Jean-François Chartrand-D’Aoust, Mathias Béchiau, and Jean-Marc-Hétu. The recognition ceremony ended with a signing of the city’s guest book in the presence of the firefighters and their families.
At the end of the council meeting, Mayor Martin announced that Councillor Frédéric Berthiaume (bottom right photo), who was elected under the banner of Team Joannette in 2013 and sat as an independent councillor since the beginning of the current term, has decided to become a member of the mayor’s team. He joins Councillor Manon Robitaille, another Joannette candidate, who decided to ally herself with the mayor last year. Everyone on the six-member council is now a member of the mayor’s party, which is also known as Deux-Montagnes Autrement.

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