Letter to the editor 2, Nov. 7, 2019

Hudson Council Meeting November 4

Dear Editor,

There was a kerfuffle at Monday's council meeting and it got testy between myself and Mayor Jamie Nicholls.

The issue concerned a motion to discuss with the CMM (Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal) the removal of Hudson as a TOD (Transit Oriented Development) zone.

At the October council meeting there was a motion passed (5 to 1 in favour) to discuss the issue at the CMM meeting. At Monday’s meeting there was a new vote, exercised under the mayor’s veto power, on the same motion as that tabled at October’s meeting.

The result – a split council where the mayor’s vote reversed the outcome of the October vote meaning Hudson remains as a TOD without even asking the question as to whether Hudson needs to be.

That’s the background and now here are the facts:

- The establishment of TODs is ultimately the responsibility of individual municipalities.

- A TOD requires high density zoning in the area to access mass transit points with frequent service.

- The Hudson/Vaudreuil train service is underused and is not guaranteed to continue in operation once the REM, rapid transit network, is completed.

- Once a TOD is established it comes under a group of common guidelines that are followed by all TODs. So the umbrella guidelines that apply to Lucien-L’Allier, for example, will equally apply to Hudson and the other TODs. This guideline can be changed over time.

  • Hudson fails to meet the TOD criteria of a mass transit access point.

  • Alternative transit solutions are currently being explored in Hudson.

  • The higher density norms accompanying TODs are not compatible with Hudson’s growth targets.

  • The current council has yet to establish how PMAD (Metropolitan and Land Use and Development Plan) TOD densities will apply to Hudson’s urban perimeter.

  • Now that the October motion has been overturned Hudson and its residents will not know whether we had a choice to be a TOD or if it was forced upon us.

  • The minutes of the October 7 meeting record the mayor exercising his right of veto since he does not approve of the motion. A review of video of that meeting does not support the statement as recorded in the minutes.

  • Hudson has received the approval of funding for an economic study of Hudson’s train service with deliverables that include developing densification scenarios to ensure sustainable ridership, including two additional TODs with high density housing in the east (Como) and the west (Choisy).

  • The mayor’s vision is for a tramway system to connect the TODs.

  • It now appears the mayor wants to use the approved funding for a study of the downtown core, parking and vehicle traffic, etc.

It’s a confusing picture for sure and that’s why Monday’s meeting got testy. The purpose of the meeting with the CMM was to establish, ‘whether we actually have to be a TOD before we start spending money on how we should remain a TOD.’

My opinion is that getting an answer to this question is a very reasonable approach – however, the perception is that Mayor Nicholls exercised his veto power in order to secure the funding for the study since, without an answer to the question on the necessity to be a TOD, the funding would be on hold and that would thwart further progress on the development of the mayor’s confused vision for the town.

One final fact – under the administration of former Mayor Ed Prévost, our current mayor railed against even the notion of a TOD for Hudson. So the best advice the mayor should follow is to focus on the elements of the platform on which he was elected and stop sapping the time and energy of the caucus, administration, and employees on schemes of his vision for our town.

It’s very evident there is mass confusion, stress, and discontent being levied on all, especially the residents of Hudson.

‘Testy’ (Marcus Owen)