Petition submitted to Terrasse-Vaudreuil council opposing planned Île-Perrot arena
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Resident Émilie Saint-Jean presents a petition signed by 101 residents to Terrasse-Vaudreuil Mayor Michel Bourdeau during the February 11council meeting. Some residents voiced their opposition to the town’s participation in a new arena project for Île-Perrot because of the lack of a public consultation process to discuss the scope of the project with citizens.
A copy of an online petition with 101 names opposing the new proposed multi-municipal arena to be built in Pincourt was delivered to Terrasse-Vaudreuil Mayor Michel Bourdeau at the start of the first question period during the monthly council meeting on February 11. The meeting was attended by almost 30 residents.
The petition was presented by Terrasse-Vaudreuil resident Émilie Saint-Jean who said 90 people from Terrasse-Vaudreuil and 11 others from neighbouring L’Île-Perrot and Pincourt also signed online.
After the meeting, Saint-Jean told The Journal that Mayor Bourdeau apparently wasn’t listening and dismissing residents’ concerns about how the town’s portion of the new arena would be financed.
Residents deserve answers
“You can clearly see for yourself that the mayor really doesn’t listen to us, that he doesn’t really care what we have to say. He cuts us off during question period,” said Saint-Jean.
“He’s been telling us the questions we ask aren’t important. I believe they are because it’s our money. They’re acting with our money and we deserve answers and we deserve to know what they’re getting into and how it’s going to be. When he tells us again and again that he doesn’t know; that’s not reassuring. It’s really concerning,” added St. Jean.
She also noted that the residents agree with her that they deserve to have a public consultation process regarding the whole arena project. “We should have the entire population’s input on this because they don’t know what they really want. It’s not 35 kids who are going to rule over us because we’re the ones who are paying too. We deserve answers,” said Saint-Jean.
Concerns raised over eventual costs
One resident who declined to give his name said he was concerned about what the eventual cost would be for the town’s residents. “I find the town isn’t taking into account all the costs involved. They’re telling us it’s only going to cost this much. Who’s going to pay for the maintenance? Who’s going to pay for the employees? Who’s going to pay in 25 years when it’s going to be destroyed?” he asked.
“How about the arena they already built in Pincourt?” he added. “It’s going to be torn down and how much is that going to cost? Are we going to be involved in that also? There’s no transparency in this town – none whatsoever. They’re not telling us the real story. They just telling us a little bit here, a little bit there.”
Project only in the preliminary stage
Mayor Bourdeau dismissed the petition and residents’ concerns, saying it isn’t practical to talk about how much cost the town will assume in regards to its proportion of the arena project because all four municipalities on Île-Perrot have merely agreed to apply for subsidies to Ottawa and Quebec. He added that misinformation about the arena is being spread on social media.
The four municipalities – L’Île Perrot, Notre-Dame-de-l’île-Perrot, Pincourt and Terrasse-Vaudreuil – recently announced a joint venture to seek financial grants from the federal and provincial governments that would total just over 66 per cent for a new arena that will be built in Pincourt.
If the grants for the new arena are approved, then the four municipalities will form a Régie that will examine the financial implications the new arena will have on each town based on their populations which will determine the financial share each municipality will pay if the project goes ahead, said Bourdeau.