CSL calls on Quebec, Montreal to prioritize Cavendish link

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

March 21, 2012

Côte St. Luc council unanimously passed a resolution last week calling on the Quebec government and the City of Montreal to prioritize a link between Cavendish Boulevard in Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent, via Royalmount in Town of Mount Royal.

Côte des Neiges-NDG council recently passed a resolution asking Quebec to make the link a priority. Town of Mount Royal also passed a resolution. The link has been discussed for more than 40 years. During the merger years, a project bureau was set up specifically for the link, but while it came up with a design for the route, the project has remained on the shelf.

Councillor Dida Berku introduced Côte St. Luc’s resolution, which said that city reaffirms its support for the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish link and that it considers the project “a key element to improving traffic flow in the central portion of the island of Montreal. “The project should be included and designated as a priority in the next agreement between the Quebec Ministry of Transport and the City of Montreal,” the resolution adds.

Copies of Côte St. Luc’s resolution are being sent to Quebec Transport Minister Pierre Moreau, D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, Montreal’s executive committee, and all mayors and councils in the islandwide Montreal agglomeration. A copy will also be deposited at the next Montreal agglomeration meeting. The resolution was seconded by Councillor Glenn Nashen.

Berku said the concept and the plan for the link exist, and even went to the Quebec environment ministry. “And then the plug was pulled by the city of Montreal at the time of demerger,” she added. “We want to put it back on track, and now that the city of Montreal is negotiating an agreement with the Quebec transport ministry, we want them to put it back as a priority, and we’re very happy Côte des Neiges-NDG has adopted the same resolution. TMR has done the same. We hope our MNA and the transport minister will listen to our mayor and proceed to add this to their entente.”

Earlier at Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Anthony Housefather told council regular Bernard Tonchin that at a recent agglomeration meeting, he was told Montreal considered other projects higher priorities. “I stated this was unacceptable to Côte St. Luc, that there was money in the agglomeration budget for the extension of Cavendish that we pushed to have in when the transport plan was adopted at the last round, and the only impediment was that they didn’t know what the railways were going to do,” Housefather explained, adding that he was also told the railways are staying. “That fulfilled the criteria for Cavendish going ahead, because that’s what was stated in the transport plan.”

The mayor also said he asked for, and got, support from the Association of Suburban Mayors for the link, and that he and TMR’s mayor have written to Moreau, “asking for a meeting to once again discuss Cavendish and ask Quebec to make it a priority in the entente being worked out between the Quebec government and City of Montreal on funding for transport projects. We have continued to lobby our MNAs, and our MNAs advised me they continue to lobby the minister.”

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CSL asks province, agglo, Montreal to support Cavendish extension

Isaac Olson, The Free Press

March 27, 2012

Right on the heels of a neighbouring Montreal borough’s pro-Cavendish-extension motion, Côte St. Luc also voted to demand Quebec’s support in what would, proponents say, finally give the West End a reliable alternative to the seemingly permanent congestion found on Decarie Blvd. and the expressway.

“Be it resolved that the city of Côte St. Luc reaffirms its support in favour of the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project,” said councillor Dida Berku reading from the motion’s conclusion. The city, she continued, considers “the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project a key element to improving traffic flow for public, private and active transit for the central portion of the island of Montreal.” Berku said a copy of the motion will be sent to provincial officials, all mayors/ councils within the agglomeration and deposited at the next agglomeration meeting.

The resolution states Montreal, by unanimous resolution of the city council, established a project bureau with a budget of $5 million with “a precise mandate to manage the Cavendish extension project, including the adoption of the final route proposal by 2006 and the design and completion of the work between 2007 and 2012.” However, Berku noted, “We are now in 2012 and what we know is, the only thing that has happened is the [project bureau] did do its work and they did conceive of a very good design.”

The concept and plan is there, she said, but things fell apart with the demerger and “we want to put it back on track.”

CSL’s measure goes beyond CDN-NDG’s by also demanding Montreal’s support. It’s Montreal that now needs to get behind the fight, said Mayor Anthony Housefather, as CDN-NDG does not represent the entire city.

When asked to confirm where Montreal stands on the issue, city spokesperson Darren Becker said the extension has been listed on the urban transportation plan’s to-do list since 2008 and the plan outlines a need to connect CSL’s Cavendish Blvd. with St. Laurent’s Cavendish Blvd. and Royalmount.

There is $45 million set aside in the budget for the some $150 million project, he continued, but it is up to the Quebec government to back the rest. While a few projects involving Metro and East End road renovations are topping the priority list, the Cavendish extension is still very much part of the transport plan, according to Becker, but Quebec needs to finance the project.

This is not the first time CSL’s council has voiced strong support for the extension nor is it a new issue. The borough of St. Laurent first passed a similar measure back in 1981 and, more recently, TMR hopped into the fray with a motion of its own.

“Remember, we are having more homes built behind the Cavendish Mall,” Bernard Tonchin told the council at the start of the March 12 meeting. “There are only two exits to get in and out of Côte St. Luc, and Decarie is impassable with all the construction going on now.

We desperately need Cavendish.” Housefather said, since 1998, CSL has been at the forefront of efforts to realize the extension. Housefather reported that he has been in touch with Montreal officials, like CDN-NDG mayor and executive committee chair Michael Applebaum. Applebaum said Montreal’s priorities were elsewhere, said Housefather.

The association of suburban mayors is supporting the extension, he said, and a joint letter has been sent to the Quebec government asking for support. The mayor pledged to continue bringing the issue up during agglomeration council meetings as, he said, there is money in the agglomeration budget to realize the project.

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Extract from: Quebec to cede Hippodrome land to Montreal for ‘city within a city’

Bachand commits to Cavendish link

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

March 28, 2012

••• Bachand also said constituents of the Outremont (Côte des Neiges} and D’Arcy McGee ridings should also be pleased, as part of the announcement reiterates Quebec’s commitment to the Cavendish-Cavendish link. As part of the Quebec-Montreal agreement, part of the funds gathered from land sales could be reinvested towards the extension project between St. Laurent, Town of Mount Royal and Côte St. Luc.

“There are reserves of $45 million that the city has already put in, in capital investments, and that is protected,” the minister said. “The city will make studies, in terms of updates on the cost of the project and then we’ll take it from there in future years.”

Bachand told The Suburban that recent resolutions from Côte des Neiges-NDG, Côte St. Luc and TMR played an important role in the link resurfacing again. The resolutions asked Quebec to prioritize the link. “For us and our MNAs, Cavendish is very important,” Bachand told The Suburban.  “The resolution passed in Côte des Neiges-NDG is very, very important, because it shows that a consensus exists now. Now, it’s time to update the studies on the cost of the project, for engineering. As part of the agreement, the city undertakes to update the studies to see what the project should look like at the end of the day.”

Bergman, the D’Arcy McGee MNA, was pleased with the Hippodrome and Cavendish announcements. “The Hippodrome will be good for ecology and modernize the west end of the city, and attract to the west end some wonderful housing, properly planned, with parks, playgrounds, schools and commerces to serve families,” he said. “This will help our family policy. “We’re also in a step in the right direction for Cavendish- Cavendish,” Bergman added. “The studies will be updated, looked at and certainly be part of the mix of this development. With the increase of housing in the Namur triangle and now with the development of the Hippodrome section, certainly north-south arteries will have to be further developed and this brings Cavendish into the mix. I’m delighted.”