Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Pilon challenges opponent’s assertions regarding new city hall
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Mayor Guy Pilon announced the city will build its own dedicated city hall which will be ready before the lease at its current location on Dutrisac Street expires.
Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Pilon challenges opponent’s assertions regarding new city hall.
The announcement made by Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon that the town will proceed with plans to build a new city hall was challenged by political rival Pierre Séguin during the second question period at the Monday evening council meeting, April 3.
Séguin officially announced his candidacy for mayor last Friday and introduced a full slate of eight candidates who will be running for council under the municipal party banner Équipe Nous sommes / Team we are.
The lack of a consultation process bothers Séguin, who said the city should be transparent and forthcoming about what the building will look like by presenting the architectural concepts to the public for their input. He also questioned why architectural and engineering plans are being drawn up before a location has been chosen.
“When it comes time for the city to hire an engineer and architect, you know where the building will be built,” said Séguin. “You don’t give a mandate when you don’t know where it will be located. For me, the mayor didn’t answer my questions properly (at question period).
Public consultation requested
Séguin added a debate should be held before the city’s current lease expires to enable citizens to express their opinions regarding the style and architecture of the building and its location. “It’s called vision. It involves consulting people. It’s about making sure people are involved in the decision-making process,” said Séguin.
“If people object to the project, the only way they will be able to show their dissatisfaction will be to sign a registry opposing a loan by-law,” said Séguin. “If enough signatures are registered, a referendum would be held.
“What they (council) said yesterday is that they will choose the location, they’re going to hire an architect and engineer and if anyone is against it, they can reject the proposal through a registry signing for the loan by-law,” Séguin said.
Infrastructure upgrades a priority
The decision to finally build a city hall was made because the lease at its second floor location atop a shopping centre on Dutrisac Street is coming to an end because the owner is selling the building and it would be preferable to own their facility, said Pilon.
He said city representatives discussed building a new city hall several times over the past few years but deferred any decision until the city took care of its infrastructure first, which included upgrading the water filtration and sewage treatment facilities and doing restorative work on the St. Charles Avenue overpass spanning Autoroute 40 which was a traffic nightmare, said Pilon.
Now that the city has taken its responsibility to provide its citizens with new infrastructure, Pilon said it’s time to build a new city hall because Vaudreuil-Dorion is one of the rare municipalities in the province that does not have its own dedicated building and it’s better to be the owner of a building than a leasee.
Budget and timeline
He added that while the city still hasn’t decided where it will be built just yet, that doesn’t mean the architectural and engineering plans can’t be developed while a final site is determined. “It doesn’t matter what we say, Mr. Séguin will be against it,” said Pilon.
“The fact is we will be in our new city hall in two years and it will fall within our budget and timeline. We don’t want to lose any time so we are having our architect prepare details. We’ve had consultations with different departments and in a few weeks we will have the land,” said Pilon.
The city hall is expected to be completed just before the lease expires and if an unforeseen delay does occur, Pilon is certain the landlord will be able to accommodate a short extension, adding it’s impractical to consult the public on every matter. “There will always be people who will be against what you present,” said Pilon.
He noted the city has an excellent track record of consulting with the public on environmental, cultural, and certain urban planning aspects such as the continuing rejuvenation of Harwood Boulevard and always welcomes comments and suggestions from citizens.