Published on October 16, 2013
Photo Keith McAuliffe
Published on October 16, 2013
chronicle photo courtesy
Published on October 05, 2012
Published on May 13, 2009
Hela Labene hopes to be elected mayor of Beaconsfield later this fall. Chronicle, Jacques Pharand
Rhonda Massad, Bonnell, Bourelle, and Labene seek the city’s mayoralty Nov. 3
Not too long after Mayor David Pollock announced he wouldn’t seek re-election in early June, did mayoral candidates begin knocking on Beaconsfield doors. James Bonnell, Georges Bourelle, 2009 mayoral candidate Hela Labene, and city councillor Rhonda Massad are trying become the city’s third mayor in the last decade.
The director of sales and manufacturing for an overseas company announced his candidacy in early August to help build a better sense of community in Beaconsfield.
“There needs to be great change and transparency in Beaconsfield. There is a lot of inefficiency in terms of how things are currently conducted and residents feel like they aren’t conducted in a timely manner. Given all that, I feel like I can effect change,” said the 46-year-old father of three.
Bonnell suggested more single-family homes, more access to cycling and walking paths, initiatives to reduce waste and redundancy at city hall, the reinstatement of the neighbourhood watch program to increase public security, and the revitalization of Beaurepaire Village among other initiatives – if elected.
A resident for seven years, Bonnell said his experience getting conflicting parties at the same bargaining table will serve him well to resolve the Angell Woods dilemma, which has grown larger in recent months with the introduction of the controversial Special Planning Program, highlighting the city’s plan for rezoning and development.
“We need to make it clear what should be protected and what shouldn’t” and only then should the city enact a law preserving what has been deemed a protected area, Bonnell added.
The city councillor for District 6 was the first to run for mayor when she announced her candidacy late last year. Massad wants to instil a level of trust between city hall and residents.
“I would like to see pride brought back to Beaconsfield. I want to see transparency coming from the government. It’s very important to earn back the trust of the people. It’s time for honest people,” said Massad.
With four years of experience on council, the long-time Beaconsfield resident and entrepreneur said she has what it takes to be the city’s next mayor. Massad has chaired finance, pension, and city budget advisory committees as well as directed the Beaurepaire Village Business Association.
It’s that sort of experience which will help her carry out her electoral platform; that is, implement a new master plan, review and improve the emergency plan, negotiate a long term solution for Angell Woods in the best interest for all parties, and form a youth council to empower Beaconsfield’s youth, among other initiatives.
Massad has an impressive community track record, including stints of volunteer work at the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre and Association for the Protection of Angell Woods (APAW).
After finishing third behind Bob Benedetti and Mayor David Pollock in the 2009 municipal election, Labene is back for more.
The Beaconsfield native is annoyed with how the current government has handled controversial issues like Angell Woods, Woodland/Beaurepaire Exchange, and the unfathomable $53,000 awarded to Axxys Construction Inc. to replace city hall’s reception desk.
If elected, Labene will find a resolution to the aforementioned, as well as take concrete steps toward making the city a more family-oriented place by building more multi-generational homes, improving park facilities, bettering the utilization of public buildings for local organizations, bring back volunteer rescue squad and the neighbourhood watch, and promote the opening of health care offices around the city, among other proposals.
The political newcomer announced his candidacy in mid-July, hoping a fresh voice can revitalize the city.
“I have the experience and expertise to provide the leadership that is require to manage the city…and give taxpayers the best value for their tax dollar,” said Bourelle, a retired CEO of large corporations Prevost and Nova Bus.
The mayoral candidate will look to address what he deemed as a lack of transparency in municipal affairs by promoting a ‘town hall’ approach to council meetings, immediately create three and six month plans toward the administration of the city, and resolve the Angell Woods dilemma, but not before going back to square one and bring all stakeholders together to discuss whether Beaconsfield can finally entice the city of Montreal and Quebec to purchase land belonging to the private landowners. To date, he added, the issue has been rushed by the current council.
Bourelle also noted any future development cannot be carried out without a solution to the area’s current traffic woes, stating the SPP’s request that developers rectify the situation is misplaced as it falls within the city’s realm of responsibility.
“I think it’s a bit of an advantage not being burdened by bad decisions made by the previous council. I don’t have to explain decisions because I wasn’t there,” said Bourelle.