Residents want council to rethink SPP

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Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue residents want council to rethink SPP

By Kevin Woodhouse  The Suburban

Residents of the northern sector of Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue, concerned over the proposal developed by the council, a special planning program (SPP) allowing for development in the 276- hectare territory that is currently privately owned while conserving almost half of that land for parks, wetlands and natural green spaces, were out in force this past Monday night seeking answers about the project. Question period went on for more than 90 minutes and more chairs were required for the near capacity crowd. Citizens waited their turn to inquire about the future of the SPP following the very well attended public consultation held May 28 where many expressed concerns over the potential rise in traffic congestion, higher taxes and lower property values. As was the case on May 28, District 6 councilor Paola Hawa spoke out about the SPP while her colleague in District 5, Michel Bouassaly, remained quiet on the subject, as did councilors Jay Van Wagner, Gerry Lavigne and James Anderson. Ryan Young, who also heads the city’s environment committee, remained hopeful that once council meets in caucus about the SPP, that “anything is possible as no final decisions have been made yet.” When pressed by numerous residents on the project’s future, Mayor Francis Deroo’s mantra became “we will meet in caucus, revise the SPP and come back with an answer” for many queries concerning the project such as the practicality of completing traffic impact studies prior to starting the project, whether Kirkland is on board with the changes and whether or not the council will go through the large amount of feedback from citizens. Young also told the assembled that since the May 28 public consultation, council had yet to meet to review the meeting. Some northern sector residents sought more answers regarding the Leslie Dowker Pumping station that often is taxed to capacity during inclement weather with sewer effluent ending up in some residents’ basements. Director general Martin Bonhomme explained that an outside company has been mandated to service the station and to date, there has been no serious problems but the situation is being monitored. Others wanted to know more about when the Exit 41 overpass will be reopened but Deroo answered that talks with the MTQ are ongoing and that he doesn’t want Sainte Anne taxpayers to bear the brunt of the the repair costs. Some residents asked council to be cognizant of the citizens’ overall dislike for the current SPP and hopes council be “visionary in their thinking” and that they need to “communicate more with the residents” as well as perhaps “scrapping the project since all I’ve heard is overwhelmingly negative feedback on the issue.” One citizen was concerned that the caucus meeting might not yield any results since, besides Hawa and Young, the other councilors have yet to break their silence on the issue. Another resident asked about a letter between the city, the city of Montreal and Grilli noting that the plans have already been agreed on between the three parties. Many times during the meeting, Bonhomme was asked by the crowd to speak more clearly into the microphone as they often had trouble hearing him in the filled room. And like their request to better hear the director general’s responses, the citizens of Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue will be seeking answers in the weeks to come over the course the city is taking in the SPP development slated for the northern sector.

THE WEST ISLAND SUBURBAN, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2012
Source: Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue residents want council to rethink SPP