VSP councillors ponder future of local police stations

Martin C. Barry
Park Extension city councillor Mary Deros. ‘What I wish for mostly is that a consultation is held,’ Councillor Deros says of rumours on PDQ 33’s future.
Photo: Martin C. Barry

Recent news regarding the planned closing of several Montreal Police Department neighbourhood stations – including the rumoured shutting of Park Extension’s Station 33 – was one of the issues raised during the March 9 public meeting of the Villeray/St-Michel/Parc Extension borough council.
“After doing a bit of research, I found that closing Station 33 is not in their immediate plans,” Deros said in a statement during the meeting, referring to officials at the police department who are making the decisions.

Consultation needed

“I don’t know about the future, but what I wish for mostly is that a consultation is held with the elected officials of the neighbourhood and the residents, which is very important,” added Deros. Borough Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli agreed that a consultation should be an important consideration before any decision is made about PDQ 33.
“For me what is most important is to make sure that the citizens are consulted, that the elected officials are consulted: the best decisions are always made when there’s a consultation,” she said.

Future of PDQ 33

During the public question period, Park Extension resident Sasha Dyck sent an e-mail which was read out by Borough Mayor Fumagalli. He asked that Villeray city councillor Rosannie Filato, who is responsible for public safety on the centre city executive-committee, clarify remarks she made to the media the week before about the future of neighbourhood police stations.
“It’s a been a long time since the borough and the neighbourhood stations are in discussions about a possible merger between stations 31 and 33,” she said, alluding to PDQ 31 on Saint Laurent Blvd. on the edge of Jarry Park. “Nothing is confirmed for the moment,” she continued. “I can’t give you any information about any specific station, because that’s not in the cards.”

François-Perrault city councillor Sylvain Ouellet, who sits on the centre city’s executive-committee, said the system for property tax bills is rarely uniform because on inequalities in the property valuation system.
Photo: Martin C. Barry

Tax bills questioned

This time of year when property tax bills come due often brings forth residents with questions on their tax assessments. Thus it was that during question period, Pierre Lamarre of Waverly Ave., who’s been a regular at the borough council meetings for many years, told the mayor and councillors that he now pays $1,400 more in taxes than he did 10 years ago.
“This year, my tax bill went up by 3.7 per cent, which is above the inflation rate that we were told,” he said. “My question is how is it that we pay so much?” While noting that there has been a lot of condo construction in recent years which should have made the city’s tax base larger, he wondered, “How is it that it is so costly for us?”

Blame the Agglo

Fumagalli said that she too had also seen her tax bill go up in 2020. However, she placed most of the blame with the Montreal Agglomeration, the council made up of elected representatives from the City of Montreal and the other independent municipalities on the island.
While noting that the value of properties across Montreal Island has increased with the introduction this year of a new three-year property roll, she added, “It’s not the borough which decides this. It’s much larger than that. It’s at the level of the Agglomeration. So it’s not us in the borough who make the decision. It’s not even at the centre city. It’s at the Agglomeration where values are decided.”

Borough Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli says she favours public consultations before the Montreal Police decide on the future of local police stations.
Photo: Martin C. Barry

Impact of new valuations

Lamarre replied that he could understand property valuations going up. “But for the tax rate, it is you who impose it, and so that’s different,” he continued.
Councillor Sylvain Ouellet, who sits on the executive-committee, added that officials at the centre city can’t raise taxes on all tax bills by a single uniform rate based on inflation, because of wide variations in the property valuations list.
Also during the question period, Olivia Daigneault Deschênes suggested that the borough should expand its program, offering subsidies for the purchase of recyclable baby diapers, to include environmentally-friendly feminine hygiene products such as recyclable sanitary napkins.

Recycle women’s napkins

“I am wondering when you are going to be encouraging residents to support these alternatives which are more eco-responsible, by making them more accessible through subsidy programs,” she said, pointing out that several Montreal boroughs have already done this already.
Mayor Fumagalli said the borough’s 2020 budget covered subsidies for disposable diapers. However, she added, “we will think” about the possibility of adding women’s sanitary napkins in the future.