Borough Council looks to 2021 with hope

Following a year that perhaps no one will ever forget, the Borough Council of Villeray/St Michel/Park Extension looks to the future with new plans and takes a look at what we as a community have accomplished in 2020

Of course to detail the full extent of the council meeting held on October 5th, would be to detail a transcript of many pages and we don’t really have the room for all that here, but we’ve outlined the essential points of focus, detailing their PowerPoint presentation as an overview for you members of the community to peruse (translated from French and featuring some of my annotations). The council certainly had a lot to say on the past and the future, as you will read, but the proceedings didn’t necessarily go off without a hitch, so to speak.

Borough mayor Fumagalli speaks and presents the data of the council’s PowerPoint presentation, hopeful for the years to come

Accomplishments of 2020

Presented proudly both on the power point presentation and during the meeting presented online live and on their website, the council spoke of its accomplishments from the past year which included: “… a development of 16 new green alleys,150 squares of trees and a plantation of 350 trees in the public domain and distribution of 42,000 plants … an adoption of plans to chart the futurein culture and social development; authorization for the construction of threesocial housing and collaboration in the purchase of four properties for developments future.Support for ten organizationscommunities in their relocation to the landscape; upgrading of the Saint-Michel arena and the Park-Extension library.Redevelopment of three parks and twosports grounds as well as renovation offour chalets.Acceptance of a first donation forthe development of a park designed entirely according to standards of universal accessibility; revision of the zoning by-law forpreserve the rental stock and facilitate understanding of certain provisions complex (implantation rate, number floors, margins …) Establishment of parking areas dedicated to car sharing and new bicycle racks in the public domain; also planning of an East-West cycle routeon Villeray and expansion of sectors of on-street parking reserved for residents; implementation of a reduction of the speed limit on several arteries.”

Priorities for 2021

And for the New Year, plans were certainly set in place … a positive plan that definitely looks good on paper: “Continuing the fight against urban islands, in particular by planting trees and perennials. Integrate the concepts of ecological transition in all redevelopment projects.Continue to implement measures to improve the cleanliness and beautification of the territory.Develop a vision of urban agriculture. Propose a regulatory amendment project on parking on the private domain.Promote active and collective transport by further developing mobility hubs.Adopt a first Policy on traffic calming. Pursue the redevelopment and repair projects of certain local streets.Continue to deploy a connected and safe cycling network.” This still seems to be part of the plan, despite the fact that it wasn’t met with open arms by one and all in most parts of the city. We further reported that in Park Extension exclusively, the amount of cyclists compared to cars is and was extremely low … we hope only that these bike paths planned—if any are—won’t add to construction or the creation of one-way streets in this borough specifically.They also plan to: “Continue the development of social housing.Maximize the digital presence in the service offering to the population.Maintain the redevelopment of green spaces, sports grounds and furniture for the goodto be of the population.Maintain the green alleys program.Optimize snow and ice removal operations on the road and sidewalks.Continue the process for the creation of a business development company. Begin the development of a cultural district. Maintain efforts in prevention and in the fight against unsanitary housing and cleanliness of public space.”

A new budget for new needs—budgetary challenges for 2021

The challenges listed are more than understandable, and the council took to talking about it with hope, the new challenges brought on by Covid-19 certainly something that took up quite a bit of time …

“Indexation of 1% of budget transfers determined by the City for 2021 does not coverthe real increase in the cost of salaries and contracts (including annual growth inlabor).Participation in the effort to finance the transitional measures relating to theretirement results in an additional decrease of $ 262,000 in the overall budget ofthe rounding … Income from limited local sources; additional expenses to protect employees and population from the effects ofCOVID-19.

Presentation of the 2021 budget – the council’s choices for 2021

“Pursue actions responding to political and citizen priorities, optimizing spending, in particular through the adoption of a financial support policy.Restructure operations with a view to organizational performance.Maintain the level of service to citizens. Do not increase the local tax rate. Maximize income from local sources.The borough presents a balanced budget between revenues and expenses of $ 60,365,500, an increase of 1.6% ($ 909,400) compared to the budget of the previous year; a budget that rationalizes expenses (decrease of $ 350,000); a budget that limits the increase in the local tax to inflation (2%).Increase in the target of revenues from local sources in order to maintain our level of services to citizens.”

They further presented a plan moving forward even to 2030 through a PowerPoint presentation.

Disagreement by the council members

In the case of ‘Renovictions,’ the council definitely disagreed, with apparently 4 council members on one side of the spectrum and borough mayor Fumagalli on the other. In the case of ‘Renovictions,’ it is quite the sensitive topic in the city as of late, and borough councilor Mary Deros, as well as three of the other council members … Josué Corvil, Rosannie Filato and Sylvain Ouellet, feel one way about it, the mayor another. It was obvious during the proceedings, but the four council members passed a motion in favor to their convictions that day and it could mean a big change is coming soon regarding this topic.

We will have more on this story in the next issue as it is still in development.