Ogilvy/de Castelnau overpass to move forward

Borough council announces construction timeline for a pedestrian overpass

City officials met for their monthly borough council meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 9 to adopt several motions, answer resident’s questions and update citizens on initiatives in Villeray, Saint-Michel and Parc-Extension.
Present were Borough Maire Giuliana Fumagalli, Councillor for Parc-Extension Mary Deros, Councilor for Saint-Michel Josué Corvil, Councilor for Villeray Rosannie Filato and Councilor for François-Perrault Sylvain Ouellet.
Among other subjects discussed, the question of the foot-crossing at Ogilvy Avenue and de Castelnau Street came up. This was raised by Councillor Mary Deros during question period.
Ogilvy-Castelnau crossing
The city confirmed that the contract to build the pedestrian overpass at the Parc ARMT station had been issued and construction was set to begin. The contract has been awarded to Montreal-based engineering company SNC-Lavalin.
Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2021, approximately a year behind schedule. Deros underlined this, saying that work had already been set to begin in Fall 2020 and never started.
The overpass will allow for the continuation of the bike path from Villeray to Parc-Extension and let pedestrians cross without going over the train tracks or having to walk a one-kilometre detour to Jean-Talon Street.
Separating neighbourhoods
The issue has been a hot-button topic among residents since de Castelnau Avenue was refurbished with a bike path and extended to the train tracks. For several years, a fence prevented access to the train station for those on the Villeray side.
Currently, access through is possible as the fence has been removed, but fence-posts are still there. The passage has not been entirely paved either, hindering accessibility for many. This is made worse with snow build-up during the winter months.
The overpass would facilitate access to the Parc Metro station for Villeray residents and offer a faster route to Jarry Parc for Parc-Extension residents, among others.
Years in the making
The project in question had for many years been at the center of a legal battle between Canadian Pacific, the owner of the tracks, and the City of Montreal who wanted to build the pedestrian overpass.
A decision was finally reached in July 2019 when the Canadian Transportation Agency authorized the project, in addition to two other overpasses in the Montreal area.
“These new developments will open up the neighbourhood and ensure better mobility,” said Councilor Sylvain Ouellet in a press release at the moment of the decision in 2019. “The citizens of Villeray and Parc-Extension will no longer need to detour to get to Jarry Park or the Parc train station,” he added.
Councillor Deros said she was pleased to finally see the project move forward.
COVID-19 commemoration
In addition to borough decisions, Mayor Fumagalli took time to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the pandemic in Québec and commemorated the many people that lost their lives, loved-ones and livelihoods to the virus. Mar. 11 will mark the anniversary of when health restrictions were first put in place and Québec went into lockdown. Since then, 294,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded across the province along with 10,500 deaths.
Fumagalli commended residents on their continued efforts to fight the pandemic and reminded people that the battle was not yet over. “On a encore un coup à donner,” said Fumagalli.
Greek Independence
Councilor Deros also raised a point of order to underline the 200 year anniversary of Greek independence. Deros said it was the second time in history that Greece had shown the world the possibility and benefits of democratic systems, and wanted Montreal to celebrate that.
She also thanked the Haitian community for their lasting support and connection to the Greek community. Deros underlined that Haiti was the first country to formally recognize Greece as a state when it declared independence in 1821.
Deros also commended the lasting effect the Greek community has had on both Parc-Extension and Montreal, and the work that had been put in to help build the city as we know it now.
Saddened that the annual Hellenic parade would not be taking place in 2021 due to COVID-19 measures, she nonetheless stated that Mar. 25 would mark a day of celebration to highlight the importance of the Hellenic community in Montreal.
Council meetings
Borough Council meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month and are openly available to the public. They are live-streamed on the city’s website and are also re-broadcast after.
Residents can ask questions to elected officials by sending them in before 10 AM on the day of the meeting. These will be answered by Mayor Fummagali and other officials over the course of the meeting.