Hudson Town Council passes concordance by-laws despite citizen protest
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Contesting the wisdom of passing concordance by-laws was on the minds of many Hudson residents at the June 5 council evening. Resident Marcus Owen (at the microphone) and others questioned the necessity of a TOD (Transit Oriented Development) zone.
Emotions ran high at the Hudson Town Council meeting on Monday, June 5, as citizens opposed to three by-laws asked council to reconsider its decision and delay their approval. The by-laws in question amend the planning program of the town, its zoning by-laws, and on site planning and architectural programs so that they conform to the revised Land Use Program of the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS).
Mayor Ed Prévost, although not present for the meeting, sent a message read by Councillor Natalie Best, that encouraged residents to support the passage of the concordance by-laws. “As you know, mayors don’t vote unless there’s a draw. If I were to vote, I would enthusiastically endorse the by-law,” Prévost wrote as read by Best. Prévost referred to the issue of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) centered on the Hudson train station that will come into effect with the passage of the by-laws.
“Even though TOD’s do look artificial, we can work with it and around it,” the Mayor wrote.
“Have you determined with the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) their plans for the Hudson train service?” asked resident Marcus Owen. He said Hudson does not have the population to support train service in the long term without drawing in ridership from surrounding communities. “New feeder roads with feeder bus services to the Hudson train station could provide the population base,” said Owen. “These are not in the Plan Métropolitain d’aménagement et de Développement (PMAD).”
He described how Hudson would need a substantial train station with supporting infrastructure and the rail line between Hudson and Vaudreuil-Dorion would have to be significantly upgraded.
“If you haven’t asked them, don’t you think it would be appropriate to do so before including the TOD in the by-laws?” Owen asked. Currently, Hudson is serviced with one train in the morning in the direction of Montreal and a return train in the evening. In Owen’s opinion, an increase in service would be required to support a TOD.
“No matter whether it is train service or buses it is considered a TOD,” responded Best. “As far as the AMT goes, there is a cost that goes with that for more trains,” she added noting that citizens would have to be surveyed as whether or not they wanted the added service with the expense. “We know we have transportation issues and we know that the CIT organisation is going to change,” she added noting that feeder lines into Vaudreuil-Dorion don’t solve the problem of congestion on the highways.
Councillor Deborah Woodhead said in defense of the by-laws, “We chose to be part of CMM and the MRC-VS and we need to be in compliance. Once we are in compliance, we will be able to do things for Hudson that we cannot do from the outside. We listened to what you have said and we have made some changes.”
Zoning changes for Villa Wyman construction
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Hudson’s Villa Wyman chairperson Diane Ratcliffe (left) and board members of the non-profit organization, Bill Young and Sally Janson, outlined the physical parameters of the proposed assisted living seniors’ residence.