Reacting to a recent report that Montreal mayor Denis Coderre hopes to take certain powers away from the city’s boroughs in order to create a stronger metropolis, Villeray/St-Michel/Parc Extension mayor Anie Samson and Parc Extension city councillor Mary Deros say they have no fundamental objections to the boroughs relinquishing some control for the sake of a more successful metropolis.
Building a metropolis
Although she insisted “we’re not there yet,” Samson said in an interview with Nouvelles Parc Extension News just before last Tuesday’s borough council meeting that the issue involves “the major principles of the metropolis statute and so in that sense there’s no doubt we will have to rethink our ideas for what we need to do, but nothing has been done so far.”
“It’s still at the stage of discussion,” she continued. “The mayor has made a commitment to come back to each of the mayors of the boroughs to discuss it.” Asked whether there is room for changes in the power relationship between the boroughs and the centre city, Samson agreed.
All on the table
“For sure,” she said. “Because if we are going to have a charter as a metropolis we will have to adjust coherently. There are things that the boroughs do which could come from the centre city, and there are things that the centre city now does which could come to the boroughs.
“So we’re putting everything on the table and we’re going to look together at what should be done for better management and better optimization of resources since we don’t have more money but we have to offer services everywhere,” she added.
Deros said: “I would like to be at the working table where everything will be discussed, and before anything is sent to Quebec the caucus will be informed. There will be debates. I am in favour of having coherence in the city, where there there is some kind of coherence within the services, but I don’t know to what level. But if we’re going to be one city and one metropolis there’s got to be some kind of coherence.”
Deros said she was also aware that Coderre “believes that the decentralization that we have today is good for the citizens for local services,” although “at this point I don’t have more information so I really can’t comment on it.” But overall, she said she agreed with the idea of rebalancing the powers between the centre city and the boroughs in order to create a strong and successful metropolis. “If you’ve got 19 boroughs going in 19 different directions, then you’re not really a city, are you,” said Deros.
During the borough council meeting, Deros was confronted by a tumultuous group of more than a dozen residents of d’Outremont Ave. between Jean Talon St. and Beaumont Ave., who had come out to voice their strenuous objections to some proposed changes to the street’s layout. One of their most strenuous objections was to the recent addition of cement median blocks along the west side of the street next to the sidewalk.
D’Outremont Ave. uprising
Deros left the council meeting room for around 15 minutes to discuss the residents’ grievances. Samson promised to hold a special meeting with the residents to hear their grievances and try to implement changes as they see fit. Among those from d’Outremont Ave. who got up to the microphone to express their objections were Peter Papadakis.
During question periiod, Samson was asked by André Bourbonnière whether any progress was being made in creating a level crossing for pedestrians over the railway tracks between de Castelnau and Ogilvy avenues. Although Samson said that the line’s owner, Canadian Pacific, has now agreed to allow a level crossing at one of two possible access points, she added that the company has backtracked since then and “we are speechless faced with the indifference of CP.”
Later during question period, Park Exer Sasha Dyck asked Samson about a rumour that the owner of the parking lot for 405 Ogilvy Ave. (the building where the Borough of VSP leases office space) is thinking of repurposing lot for future development, including some possible green space. Samson said that was the first she’d heard of it, but that she would look into it.