Saint-Lazare officially supports future REM station in Vaudreuil-Soulanges
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK
Saint-Lazare council says it is appealing to the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC to pressure the Quebec Government to extend the REM commuter train service to the off-island region as part of the Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge replacement project.
Saint-Lazare town council clearly expressed their support for direct access to the new express train project, Réseaux Express Métropolitain (REM) for Vaudreuil-Soulanges during the regular monthly council meeting held Tuesday, February 19.
“I don’t think there has been a movement strong enough to push the project,” said Mayor Robert Grimaudo following the meeting regarding the resolution that passed unanimously.
Building regional support
“I think it is extremely important to push this file. It’s being presented to the MRC caucus and we are going to present our resolution at the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) council meeting on Wednesday night,” said the mayor. “We need to get the REM out here. One of the most logical ways is when they build the new (Île-aux-Tourtes) bridge. Once the bridge is built and it’s ready to receive the train, it’s a no brainer to get it to Vaudreuil-Soulanges,” he said. Grimaudo intends to use the resolution to encourage the other mayors of the MRC-VS to exert pressure on the Quebec government to extend the REM service to Vaudreuil-Soulanges. He said continued growth of the region in terms of population and economy warranted a change to the REM plan. “With the construction of the new hospital, we are going to need this train.”
Details of the resolution
The resolution approved by council points out the REM project at $6.3 billion is the largest public transportation project in Quebec in 50 years. The project has a total of 26 stations, six of which are in the West Island of Montreal. The station closest to Vaudreuil-Soulanges will be in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. According to the resolution, the numbers of parking spots planned for that station are insufficient for the current and projected Vaudreuil-Soulanges population.
REM and new bridge project
The resolution also notes another important Quebec infrastructure project, the construction of a replacement L’Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge estimated to be completed by 2030. Currently, 86,000 users cross the bridge on a daily basis. The plan for the new bridge includes a dedicated bus lane. The resolution argues the reliability of such a service depends in particular on weather conditions and the flow of traffic.
The resolution cites research from McGill University that indicates potential public transit users choose other forms of transportation if they have to make more than two connections in the public system.
Environmental and economic impact
The off-island train connection will also have environmental and economic benefits according to the resolution. Environmentally, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 680,000 tonnes in 25 years of operation. In a similar fashion, it could reduce the economic losses linked to traffic congestion estimated at $1.9 billion per year for the metropolitan region of Montreal.
The report concludes that frequency and travel time will be better than other transportation services currently available in the region and will respond better to the transportation needs of citizens, greatly improving their quality of life. Without an efficient public transportation system such as the REM, the population will continue to use their vehicles.
Les incroyables chromosomes
Saint-Lazare has launched a recreation program for handicapped children between the ages of 6 and 17 years of age. The program, titled Les incroyables chromosomes, has received up to $29,866 in financial support from the MRC-VS and a further $3,000 from Zone Loisirs Montérégie. The latter is a non-profit organization working at the regional level to promote recreational services for handicapped children. “We are very proud of this program,” said the mayor. A Saint-Lazare resident, who described herself as a parent of handicapped children, asked if the town was aware the upper school-age limit was 21 years of age for handicapped children. The mayor responded that certain boundaries had been established but that could be changed for the future.
“This was formerly a program that was being run by CAQ MNA Marilyne Picard,” the mayor told The Journal following the meeting. “There were people from Saint-Lazare using that program and we didn’t want to see it disappear,” he added. “We have changed it and given it a new name.” The project is expected to begin in March offering activities one morning per month at Parc Nature Les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare.
Council approved notices of motion initiating the process of adjusting zoning regulations to permit chickens on residential properties. A public consultation regarding the proposed zoning changes is planned for Tuesday, March 19 at City Hall. For further details, consult the town website