By-passing Beaurepaire Village

Anthony Abbondanza
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Will city use savings from 2013 infrastructure costs to address Beaurepaire Village’s parking dilemma?

Despite the revitalization project back in 2003, in which the city updated the parking, walkways and sidewalks to accommodate handicap access and gardens and trees, Beaurepaire Village has difficulty attracting local shoppers, says the village’s merchants association president.

Following the announcement of $4.2 million worth of infrastructure savings during the current fiscal year, the question has arisen as to what to do with the extra money.

According to the president of the Beaurepaire Village Merchants Association (BVMA), that money could be well spent on rectifying some of the village's glaring issues, namely the lack of accessible parking.

“It’s been like this for a long time,” said Hilarie Harubin, who’s Boutique Woof! Meow! lies in the heart of the village. “People drive away because they can’t find parking.”

Mayor George Bourelle announced Dec. 2 the city had saved $4.2 million in infrastructure costs for projects carreed out in 2013, courtesy of provincial grants which effectively reduced Beaconsfield’s financial burden by 50 to 75 percent.

The rehabilitation of 5,000 linear metres of water mains in the south-eastern sector of the city received the largest grant covering approximately $2 million of the project’s $2.6 million cost.

Beaurepaire Village, once a miniscule shopping destination in the 1930s and 1940s, riddled with general stores and pharmacies, is now home to restaurants, art galleries, and a thrift shop among others, plagued by one constant limitation that is parking, and by consequence the lack of customers, never remedied by preceding municipal governments – and may not be on current Mayor George Bourelle’s 2014 agenda.

The mayor told The Chronicle last week that council hadn’t yet decided future capital investments for the coming year.

“I can’t tell you what projects we have in store,” said Bourelle when asked if Beaurepaire Village, which underwent a $7 million revitalization make-over in 2003, would be among the priorities in the upcoming budget. “Priority is going to be infrastructure however”

He indicated the importance of ameliorating sewer systems, streets, and possibly renovating Centennial Hall and sports and leisure facilities if available grants permit.

“After that’s taken care of, we’ll take a look at other projects that’ll make sense,” said Bourelle.

That decision will only come in mid-January, however, as the budget has been delayed as the city awaits for Montreal’s agglomeration council to settle its own budget –and by extension, the required taxes owed by West Island municipalities and residents.

Meanwhile, the village will continue to be by-passed by residents without patience to scour available parking areas. And as long the situation remains unfixed Harubin isn’t optimistic about the chance of filling recently voided commercial lots to potential businesses.

The lot, said Harubin, would be great for an ice cream shop. “But where is that person?  Are we still an unknown that people looking to open for business don’t know we exist?”

Despite the revitalization project back in 2003, in which the city updated the parking, walkways and sidewalks to accommodate handicap access and gardens, trees, lampposts, flags and benches on Beaconsfield Boulevard between Woodland Avenue and St. Louis Street, Beaurepaire Village will remain a hot topic in Beaconsfield as long an issue as simple as parking goes unaddressed.

“We can be known as the little village that’s a great place to hang out, but we just need help,” said Harubin.

For information on the village, visit www.beaurepaire.ca.

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Organizations: Beaurepaire Village Merchants Association, The Chronicle

Geographic location: Beaurepaire Village, Beaconsfield Boulevard, Montreal West Island Woodland Avenue St. Louis Street

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