• John Jantak

Nichols reflects on accomplishments during first provincial mandate


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Provincial Liberal MNA Marie-Claude Nichols, pictured outside her Vaudreuil riding office at 105 St. Charles Avenue in Vaudreuil-Dorion, is seeking a second mandate in the upcoming provincial election.

Provincial Liberal electoral candidate Marie-Claude Nichols is asking for cooperation among the regional mayors including Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue regarding the afternoon rush hour traffic backlog on Highway 20 West.

Ste. Anne’s Mayor Paola Hawa announced last week the city will prohibit left turns onto the Highway 20 West onramp on Rue Saint-Pierre north on weekday afternoons between 4 and 6 p.m. beginning September 17 to ease gridlock in the south sector of the city.

‘Working alone not the solution’

“She should work with us and the other mayors from Île-Perrot and Vaudreuil-Dorion. Working alone is not the solution. We have to change seven kilometers from an urban boulevard into a highway,” said Nichols.

The government had an upgrade project planned when Nichols was mayor of Notre-Dame-de-l’île-Perrot in 2009 but it never proceeded. The environmental and other studies that were done at the time are no longer valid and have to be redone, said Nichols.

No quick fix

A committee comprised of representatives from the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, the four mayors on Île-Perrot and the mayor of Vaudreuil-Dorion has been set up find ways to improve traffic flow, Nichols said.

“I’m sure the 20 is not going to be done for the next five or seven years. It’s going to be longer than that,” said Nichols. “We want to minimize the inconvenience for all the drivers. I don’t want to lie to our citizens. It’s impossible to do the Highway 20 project next year, or in two years or three years. We’re doing what we can.”

Vaudreuil demographic explosion

Nichols was busy setting up her campaign headquarters at 105 St. Charles Avenue in Vaudreuil-Dorion in the electoral riding of Vaudreuil when The Journal met with her August 28.

With the 39-day campaign entering its second week, Nichols spoke about her accomplishments and the challenges that lie ahead. Nichols is seeking re-election to a second term after winning the riding on April 7, 2014. Her tenure as Member of the National Assembly (MNA) for the past 52 months has given her the hands-on experience to deal with the issues that are important to her constituents, she said.

“We’re a region that is undergoing a demographic explosion. I think our goals are a little bit different than in the rest of Quebec,” said Nichols. “There are many new families. A lot of people from the West Island are moving to Vaudreuil. There are 59,000 households and we need more infrastructure projects like swimming pools and arenas.”

Health care

One of her accomplishments was the confirmation by current Health Minister Gaétan Barrette in mid-July that the long anticipated super hospital for the region would finally be built, although it would only be completed by 2026. Nichols said the 400-bed facility will be one of the biggest in Quebec and anticipates it will bring in patients from nearby municipalities in the West Island.

Despite the completion time, Nichols said medical services are being improved for the region’s residents. There are two new walk-in super clinics in Vaudreuil-Dorion – the Polyclinique Medicale Vaudreuil Inc. on Harwood Boulevard and another facility that will open in October next to the Vaudreuil-Dorion city hall at Rue Dutrisac and Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes.

Community contributions

Some of her other accomplishments include the government’s $4 million financial contribution for the repaving of the two-lane stretch of Route 342-Harwood in Vaudreuil-Dorion and another $5 million for a new library in Vaudreuil-Dorion. Another substantial contribution was made for a low-cost, 80-unit low-cost housing facility for seniors at Pointe-aux-Renards in Pincourt.

Nichols is committed to helping community groups like Le centre des femmes la Moisson in L’Île-Perrot. “I went to see Health Minister Gaétan Barrette to ask for a contribution so they could upgrade and renovate their centre,” she said.

La Moisson received two contributions totalling $18,000, said Nichols. “It’s a small amount of money for us, but it’s incredible what they’ve been able to do with the money. I’m helping a lot of groups like this.”

There was also the group of students from École secondaire Chêne-Bleu in Pincourt who went to the National Assembly in Quebec City to request a contribution for a green initiative they proposed during a meeting with Sébastien Proulx, the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports.

“I feel it’s more important to help people,” said Nichols. “I enjoy working with small groups of people and this is what I am really proud of.”

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