• John Jantak

Affordable housing continues enticing newcomers to settle in Pincourt Our ongoing series of area m


JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal said the town has consistently placed itself among the top 10 of 30 provincial municipalities with a population averaging 20,000 residents and similar infrastructure for the quality of services provided to residents and its positive fiscal management

The affordability of houses for first- time homebuyers continues to lure new residents to Pincourt which helps to reinforce the town’s image as a family-friendly community that strives to maintain a low residential property tax base while providing a high level of service and amenities for its residents, said Mayor Yvan Cardinal.

The mayor’s remarks were made during an interview with Your Local Journal at his City Hall office on Monday afternoon to get his impressions about his first year in office since winning re-election to a second four-year term as mayor. Cardinal said that under his leadership, his current administration and mostly new council members worked hard to stay within the parameters of the town’s annual budget which resulted in an impressive surplus of $2.8 million for 2013 – the fifth consecutive surplus since he first became mayor in 2009.

About one-third of the revenue came from welcome taxes as new residents and families continue to settle in Pincourt, and also from long-time homeowners who decided it was time downsize their houses and move into more modest accommodations within the town, such as the new condo development on Forest Avenue. The town’s positive reputation is highlighted by its continuous standing as one of the top 10 leading municipalities out of 30 in the province with a similar population of 20,000 citizens; type of infrastructure, which includes sewers and aqueducts; and services provided, such as a fire brigade and public transportation.

“Out of these 30, we always manage year-after-year to maintain ourselves within the first 10 municipalities, so we’re doing better than average. We don’t necessarily want to be on top because there’s nowhere else to go after except downhill,” said Cardinal. “To maintain our position as one of the leading municipalities, it’s also important to ensure the town is providing the proper level of service for our residents,”

Cardinal added. “This is the goal we strive to achieve. It’s not only about providing a fair rate of taxation; it’s also about providing good quality services to each and every resident.” With 95 per cent of town’s revenue generated exclusively from residential property taxes, the town is still hoping to expand its commercial tax base by trying to lure new businesses to set up shop in the town, which has so far had modest results.

The recent opening of the Patrick Morin and Rona hardware outlets along the strip on Boulevard du Traversier has helped to expand the town’s commercial portfolio beyond its repertoire of car dealerships and the Maxi grocery outlet. But while the two new stores brought in a fresh tax revenue stream, it merely balanced the loss of revenue from the Faubourg de L’Île shopping mall which saw a drop in its property valuation role.

Cardinal said the town continues to work with the team from Cogir Management Corporation which owns the shopping complex to find ways to attract new stores. One option the town proposed is to have various community activities held at the mall as a way to occupy some of the empty store fronts and which would hopefully entice more people to visit.

The town’s Social Development Policy that was introduced in 2012 has also had a positive effect on the populace by bringing together people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to participate in various activities and events throughout the year, and by promoting a spirit of volunteerism in the community. “Other than being a nice place to stay, Pincourt has now become a nice place to live,” said Cardinal.

“People don’t just come here to eat and sleep and go back to work, people now contribute to the community life of the town. People are becoming more involved.” Cardinal highlighted the linguistic harmony of its residents and the bilingual integration of the community that enables everyone to work together. “We’re also integrating newcomers to the community, people from different ethnic groups to make them welcome,” he said.

New residential projects that are slated to begin next year include a major development for the vacant land at Pointe-aux-Renards and Duhamel Roads for 50 new units including a housing co-op. An expansion to allow for the construction of 15 more units at the Residence St. Charles seniors’ centre on Duhamel Road near 5th Avenue is also planned in 2015.

Looking at his wish list, Cardinal is hopeful that the proposed new indoor swimming pool for Île Perrot will be located in Pincourt, citing the municipality’s central location, close proximity to area schools and available land behind École secondaire du ChêneBleu as the ideal spot. Another important project that requires the province’s immediate attention is the long-awaited project to transform the section of Highway 20 that runs through Île Perrot from a boulevard with traffic lights into a full-fledged provincial autoroute.

The project which was originally proposed 52 years ago in 1962 is long-overdue and is essential to ease worsening traffic congestion during the morning and afternoon rush hour commute, said Cardinal. Looking back at his overall tenure as mayor, Cardinal is pleased with the many goals that have been reached and overall positive outlook for its future thanks to the commitment of its employees and dedication of its councillors.

“The first four years of my first mandate passed really fast and it surprised me at how quickly the time passed. I was the new mayor among the many re-elected councillors at the time, and now into my second term, I’m considered the senior mayor with a mostly new council. It’s a brand new dynamic and we’re all happy with what we’ve achieved in our first year.”

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