Borough Council Meeting:

Ogilvy/de Castelnau crossing contract given by city centre

The meeting takes place the first Tuesday of each month and citizens can attend virtually by joining the live stream on the city’s website. Photo: Matias Brunet-Kirk – NEWSFIRST

The borough held its regularly scheduled monthly borough council meeting last Tuesday evening, where city officials and politicians meet virtually to answer questions from citizens and vote on borough initiatives.

Being discussed this month were several topics such as the city contract given to build the footpath between Ogilvy and de Castelnau, the awards ceremony for the volunteer of the year, Rosannie Filato’s final borough council meeting and the continued funding of several community organizations.

The meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of each month and citizens can attend virtually by joining the live stream on the city’s website. Citizens can also send in their questions to be answered by the mayor and city councillors. 

Present were borough mayor Giuliana Fumagalli and city councillors Mary Deros, Sylvain Ouellet, Rosannie Filato and Josué Corvil, along with city employees. This is the last meeting before the municipal election on Nov. 7, which will result in the reshuffle of elected officials on the council.

Ogilvy/de Castelnau crossing

The still unopened foot passage at the Parc EXO station was on the minds of many residents and elected officials this month as the contract for construction was voted on last week. The issue has been a hot-button issue all summer long since EXO barricaded a frequently used passage between Parc-Extension and Villeray. 

Montreal city council voted to accept the offer made by Salvex Inc. to refurbish and construct the passageway that has attracted so much controversy over the past months. The price tag for that contract comes at a non-negligible $509,914. Salvex Inc. was the only company to make an offer.

Elected officials received the news with anticipation and said it would benefit the mobility of all residents. “You will see the construction site take shape in the coming days,” said mayor Fumagalli, adding that it would open up accessibility to both neighbourhoods.

According to city documents, the new permanent crossing will include new signage, bicycle baffles on both sides and new coloured concrete. The city also reached an agreement with the Canadian Pacific that would prevent trains from blowing their whistles at the crossing as to impede sound pollution 

Montreal city council voted to accept the offer made by Salvex Inc. to refurbish and construct the passageway. Photo: Matias Brunet-Kirk – NEWSFIRST

Citizen reaction

Although many elected officials see the long-awaited opening as a success, some citizens feel differently about the project, citing among other things its high price tag.

Béatrice Musky is a Parc-Extension resident and has been at the forefront of citizen efforts over the summer to reopen the crossing that had been blocked in May. She feels the scope of the construction project is unnecessary and expensive for what citizens wanted.

“It’s spending taxpayer money for nothing,” said Musky, remarking that the price was far too high for two barriers, a sidewalk lowering and an aesthetic paint-job on the asphalt. She explained that the only thing citizens wanted was for the fence to be taken down.

“It’s mocking citizens,” she added, further remarking that “in Parc-Extension there are kids that don’t even get three meals a day, so that money would do better going to them than in colouring the concrete at the Parc pedestrian crossing.” 

“It’s spending taxpayer money for nothing,”

Volunteer of the year

The start of the meeting also included city councillors giving out their volunteer of the year awards, presented to people in the borough who have done outstanding work in serving their communities. 

For the district of Parc-Extension, Lyne Bélisle was recognized for her work at Cuisine et vie collectives Saint-Roch. “Mrs. Bélisle has become a person whose presence is essential in the food-aid service and who positively affects other volunteers as well as those receiving food baskets,” stated the borough.

“She is a great asset to the organization, which gave the rest of the team a little breathing room in these stressful pandemic times,” it continued. 

Filato’s last meeting

Tuesday’s meeting also marked city councillor for Villeray Rosannie Filato’s last borough meeting, as she is not running for reelection on Nov. 7. She gave an emotional speech thanking her colleagues, volunteers and citizens for their trust and support during her mandate. 

“It was a real privilege to represent you throughout my mandate,” said Filato, adding that she felt proud of the initiatives she brought forward and the work she was able to get done with other elected officials. 

“I would like to congratulate and thank Rosannie for all that she has done in the last 4 years,” said Mary Deros, adding that “it didn’t feel like we came from opposing parties but rather that we were colleagues working together for the betterment of the quality of life of our citizens.”

Thanks and commendations were also issued to Filato by mayor Fumagalli and city councillors Josué Corvil and Sylvain Ouellet. 

Community programs

Other issues were also voted on, such as the continued funding of certain local community organizations. Among others, the Parc-Extension Youth Organization was granted $1,000 for the remainder of the year through city councillor Deros’s “marriage fund.”

Another $500 was also awarded to the Parc-Extension-based organization Institut F, which does work to contribute to ending the problems of racial, sexual and socio-economic discrimination.

Council also voted that as of Oct. 6 late fees at city libraries would be abolished and that all previous debts were to be given amnesty and would not be payable. Given the date of the municipal election on Nov. 7, the next borough council meeting will instead take place on Nov. 23.