Borough Council Meeting

First regular meeting of the new year held last Tuesday

The meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of each month, where citizens can attend virtually and send in their questions. Photo: Matias Brunet-Kirk – NEWSFIRST  Photo: Matias Brunet-Kirk – NEWSFIRST

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

The meeting returned to a virtual-only setting since a surge in COVID-19 cases before Christmas forced most municipal government activities to return to a telework basis. 

The meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of each month and citizens can attend virtually live or by watching the posted recordings. Citizens can also send in their questions to be answered by the mayor and city councillors. 

Present were Mayor Laurence Lavigne Lalonde and city councillors Mary Deros, Sylvain Ouellet, Josué Corvil and Martine Musau Muele, along with city employees.

 “It’s a puzzle we are trying to solve with the help of the services and elected officials,”

Level crossing at De l’Épée

One of the first issues to come up during question period was that of the planned construction of a level crossing over the train tracks at the south-end of de l’Épée towards the Université de Montréal MIL campus. 

“I see people crossing the tracks every day, the solution is not to add more police to give out tickets but rather to create a safe crossing, which has already been approved. What is the status of this level crossing?” asked resident Alex Nicol. 

The mayor responded succinctly stating that the plan was in the works with the city centre as part of the larger MIL campus project, but was not ready for implementation.

“It is something that the ville centre and the borough are really looking forward to its implementation. We in the borough are in contact with our colleagues at the ville centre to make sure it will happen as soon as possible” stated Mayor Lavigne Lalonde.

When pressed by city councillor Mary Deros for more information and a timeline on when the project would go ahead, the mayor clarified that construction would not happen any time soon. “My communications with the city centre confirm that it is not foreseen for this year,” stated the mayor. 

This weeks’ meeting was once again forced to take place online due to public health orders. Photo: Borough of Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension

Alleyway skating rinks 

The winter months also bring the joys of partaking in winter activities. As a result, many residents have recently transformed parts of their unplowed back alleyways into community skating rinks. Although legal since 2012 with the approval of the majority of neighbours, some neighbours were recently unhappy with the rinks, forcing one to be covered. 

“This year after the construction of the rink we were informed that it was not compliant with the new regulations and that one neighbour was opposed to it,” said Meaghan Thurston, a resident behind one of these rinks. “Our apartments border the rink but only one person opposed to it is considered sufficient to stop its use,” she continued, further questioning what the borough would do to make the process easier.

“The regulation that was adopted, responds to this issue,” said mayor Lavigne Lalonde. “What we want to ensure is that there is a majority of neighbours that are in favour of the installation of a rink and that a single person cannot impede a project like this one,” she added. 

The mayor added that the regulation is aimed at alleyways that are not plowed and therefore not used, therefore not impeding access to cars or increasing risks of accidents. 

“I’m in favour because I feel it’s important that families have a place to play,” stated councillor Deros, but added that she hoped the new regulation would take into account the view of other neighbours and the need to deliver fuel and do repairs through alleys. 

William-Hingston Centre

With the renovations to the William-Hingston Centre set to start at the end of this year, many of the community organizations that operate out of spaces in the centre are still unsure as to where they will go. The issue came up on multiple occasions during the borough council meeting. 

“Do you not find it worrying that the community groups at the William-Hingston Centre are ten months from their eviction with still no established plan for their future,” asked Maryse Trudel. 

“It’s important to note that the spaces and the budget of the borough are limited and that the borough team is working very hard at analyzing what these organizations do in the community and what spaces they may need,” said the mayor, adding that they were still working on a plan that would best accommodate everyone. 

Still time

“It’s a puzzle we are trying to solve with the help of the services and elected officials,” added the mayor, explaining that plans were in the works but not yet ready to be presented to the public because some elements still needed clarification. 

Councillor Deros also commented on the issue, stating that the borough was working hard at finding the best solution. She also highlighted the success of the borough at finding space for community spaces on previous occasions where they had to be moved. “We still have until December to find spaces, patience and trust,” implored Deros. 

​​The next borough council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Mar. 8, 2022. Residents can tune in virtually and send in their questions to be answered by the borough.