• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Pilon rejects condo owner’s assertion about bad urban planning


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A tractor trailer truck passes by a condominium project along Vaudreuil-Dorion’s Forbes Street near the intersection Boulevard de la Gare. Condo owners say they have to deal with up to 140 tractor trailer trucks that pass by their homes each day to enter or leave the nearby Norampac containerboard manufacturing facility.

Prospective condo and home buyers in Vaudreuil-Dorion should carefully research the entire neighbourhood they plan to live in before finalizing a purchase agreement with a developer or seller to avoid any surprises, advised Mayor Guy Pilon at the Monday evening council meeting, July 8.

Pilon made the remark in response to Gerardo Perillo, a condo owner on Forbes Street who read aloud a letter during the first question period that questioned the wisdom of the city’s urban planners to allow the construction of condominium projects less than one kilometer north of the Norampac containerboard manufacturing facility.

Perillo contends that the residents’ quality of life and safety is adversely affected because about 140 tractor trailer trucks travel to and from the Norampac plant each day along the portion of Forbes Street next to the condominium projects to reach the intersection of Boulevard de la Gare.

Condo owners Ray Mischook and Cathy Stock claim the large circulation of heavy truck traffic can last for up to 14 hours each day and is a serious safety concern for all residents, especially for families with small children.

Mischook claims a serious accident involving a truck is inevitable considering the number of heavy vehicles that use the artery each day. He added that the wide width of the some of the trucks means that occasionally one truck will have to stop to let the vehicle travelling in the opposite direction pass. More importantly for Perillo is what he considers to be bad urban planning on the part of the city.

Reading from his letter, Perillo said, “Th e objective of urban planning is to guide a city or village so that it promotes the well-being of its residents, current and future, by creating a functional, equitable, healthy, efficient and attractive environment. In this case, Mr. Mayor, your planners failed to achieve their objective.”

Pilon replied he was aware that safety had become an issue recently because the construction of another condo project across the street was interfering with traffic flow, but defended the city’s urban planners by saying they did not err when they zoned the land on both sides of Forbes Street for condominiums, noting that other residential areas are located close to commercial and industrial zones.

“I’m not insensitive about the safety issues,” Pilon told Your Local Journal. “What I’m insensitive about is the fact that people buy properties but don’t check the area when they have the opportunity to check things. Then they ask the town to fix problem. People can say the situation is more dangerous now. Yes, it is more problematic because there is construction on Forbes, but it’s almost finished.”

Pilon said there’s no easy fix to the situation especially since Norampac has been at its present location for more than 30 years. A proposal to detour truck traffic onto Boîleau Street is unfeasible because it has two tight corners and pedestrians use the street to access the train station.

Another suggestion to build a secondary road along a portion of unused land adjacent to the rail tracks was also dismissed because the land was purchased by the Agence métropolitain de transport (AMT) to expand its commuter train parking lot.

“Now the worst part of the construction with all the dust, mud and noise is over,” said Pilon. “It’s done and what I’m telling them is that things will get quieter, but the trucks will always be there. I already told them that Norampac has the possibility to enlarge their facilities, so it will not be better. Eventually, some things may be worse. “In one way, they’re responsible for their choice, not for the noise,” added Pilon. “They chose to go there, so don’t tell the town we had bad planning. I understand, I really understand their complaints, but it’s not our fault. We did the best we could, but they have to live with the inconvenience.”

Perillo, Mischook, and Stock all contend they wouldn’t have bought their properties if they had known there was such a large volume of truck traffic. Perillo added that he would have had to spend an entire day watching traffic patterns along the street to find out how many trucks use Forbes Street each day, which is impractical for anyone.

“The main thing is that no one had to buy there, no one,” said Pilon. “They decided. For me, it’s very simple. People have to be responsible for their actions. Take your responsibility. It’s not our responsibility. Some people say the town should have told us. Why? It’s impossible. We have over 400 to 500 construction projects. They have to do their homework.”

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