• John Jantak

Hudson mayor optimistic town can successfully manage urban growth


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Hudson Mayor Ed Prévost answers questions from residents about the town’s future urban development plans during a public information meeting last Wednesday, April 16. Alexandra Lemieux, MRC Advisor for Territorial Planning, presented the urban development requirements outlined by the Montreal Metropolitan Community PMAD.

Hudson Mayor Ed Prévost is confident that the town will be able to come up with its own unique urban development plan while maintaining its small-town character and country atmosphere by working within the constraints of the Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement (PMAD) as proposed by the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC). Prévost made the comment during two public information sessions that were hosted by representatives from the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre to discuss various aspects of the PMAD last Wednesday, April 16.

Over 100 people attended the meetings. Alexandra Lemieux, the MRC Advisor for Territorial Planning, said that under the terms of the PMAD, Hudson falls within two specific urban density development zones. The first zone would form one-half of a semi-circle bordering the waterfront roughly from Côte St. Charles to Quarry Point Street, and extend southwest along Cameron Street to around Mount Pleasant. Forty residential units per hectare would be required to be built within this zone. The second zone, which encompasses the rest of Hudson, would require 15 residential units per hectare.

Lemieux explained that the high-density requirement in the first zone is mandated by the PMAD because of the commuter train service that runs from Hudson to downtown Montreal, even though there are only two trains that run each day. The explanation was met with derision by several residents who said the lack of adequate train service didn’t justify the type of high-density development proposed within the first sector. Other residents said they moved to Hudson to get away from Montreal’s urban sprawl and complained that large-scale development throughout the community would inevitably ruin the town’s rural pastoral setting.

Prévost sought to allay fears about large-scale development, saying that only 400 to 500 residential units would be built within the next five to ten years. Various construction options include rows of townhouses and small scale condominium projects. He added that the town would work on its own strategic urban development plan that will take into consideration its unique geography and topography which will be presented to residents in the fall.

“There have been a lot of people in the past two months who have been fomenting all sorts of fears and threats that Hudson will disappear,” said Prévost. “That’s not the case. Our plan calls for growth which I think will be easily assimilated within the feel and character of the town and nobody will notice. It will embellish the town all that much more.”

A conservation plan designed to protect forests and wetlands will also form an integral part of Hudson’s urban plan, said Prévost. He also praised MRC representative and Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon, the only one of the 28 MMC mayors who voted against the PMAD when it was adopted in 2011. The PMAD was originally mandated by the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Land Use.

“The MRC voted against it from the get-go and none of the MRC municipalities are happy with it,” said Prévost. “However, we’re legally bound by it so we have to accept it and somehow negotiate exceptions and exemptions. We need a made-in-Hudson solution for Hudson and not an artificial, theoretical plan that ultimately came from Quebec City, which means absolutely zilch to the people of Hudson.”

MRC Communications Director Simon Richard said he was pleased with the level of participation from Hudson’s residents during both information sessions and the suggestions that were presented on how the town could work around the PMAD requirements.

“I think people understand that the MRC voted against the PMAD principally because it was a wall-to-wall approach,” said Simon. “It was based on theoretical assumptions and not based on specifics related to our territory. This is why we voted against the adoption of the PMAD.”

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