Conservative candidate touts skilled trade people as way to ease Vaudreuil growing pains


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil Conservative Party of Quebec election candidate Ryan Robertson says the promotion of skilled trades is an incentive that could be used to strengthen the regional workforce.

Stimulating the regional economy by promoting and enticing people with skilled trades to set up shop in Vaudreuil is just one of several strategies that could be used to ease the region’s continuing growing pains, said provincial election candidate Ryan Robertson of the Conservative Party of Quebec. This is Robertson’s first election bid. He’s been involved with the Conservatives for the past eight months.

The 28-year-old has lived in L’Île-Perrot for six years. Robertson graduated from John Abbott College with a Fine Arts degree. Upon graduation, he worked in the restaurant industry at the Old Port of Montreal for about four years and was also involved in real estate for a short time. He decided to pursue his studies and is in his last year at Concordia University completing a political science degree.

Rapid population growth

The Vaudreuil riding has been one of the fastest growing areas in Canada. According to 2011 census figures, the population of Vaudreuil-Dorion grew 29.1 per cent since the 2006 census, compared to a national average of 5.9 per cent at the time. It also had the highest birth rate in Quebec at 16.47 per 100,000 citizens. Its population increased a further 14.4 per cent in the 2016 census.

The 2011 census also indicated the population in neighbouring Pincourt increased by 27.9 per cent. Its growth dropped substantially to 1.8 per cent over the next five years ending in 2016. While the rapid growth has been a boon to the area’s real estate market, it has put an unprecedented strain on the region’s infrastructure, including roads and schools, said Robertson.

Overcrowded schools

The École De L'hymne-au-Printemps elementary school in Vaudreuil-Dorion which opened in September 2012 can no longer take in new pupils, said Robertson. “There are kids who live literally right across the street from the school that are being sent off to St. Lazare now,” he told The Journal during an interview September 4.

“Unfortunately, there’s no more room for new kids. There are about 34 children in this situation right now because we don’t have room in our education system. While it’s great for the economy and property values in the area, if we don’t take the proper steps by being responsible for the population growth we’re going to have in the future, we’re going to run into more problems like this,” said Robertson.

Stimulating the regional economy

Another issue concerns the deteriorating traffic situation on the region’s three major highways – the 20, 30 and 40. One way to lessen the impact is to continue stimulating the regional economy, said Robertson.

“For the past two years, our labour force has been considered relatively weak. If you address this problem and can entice businesses to come here, it would take away a major strain regarding the traffic issue. I don’t see population growth as anything negative outside of a few issues that could arise if we don’t plan and have a vision to look forward,” said Robertson.

Promoting trades

The promotion of skilled trades is another incentive that could be used to strengthen the regional workforce, said Robertson. “It would be nice if we could encourage more skilled labourers to live within the riding. Normally the way to do this is to encourage trade work as a viable career choice to take the stigma away from these fields,” he said.

“Students who are doing programs at trade school often get a bad rap. Certified electricians and plumbers make more than a good living. I would like to see more of these people have the opportunity to work and stay here locally.”

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