Over 150 Ste. Anne de Bellevue residents gathered at the public consultation on the city’s urban plan last Monday at École du Bout de l’Isle in the town’s northern district. The presentation of the plan, which is set to add up to 4,500 residents to a current population of around 1,500, sparked outrage from the residents who had come to the elementary school on Vallée Street.
While the first hour of the meeting was devoted to the presentation of the plan by the city’s director general Martin Bonhomme and his staff, a total of three hours and a half were dedicated to a question period that saw angry residents overwhelming city staff with their concerns.
The fact that only two ways allow residents of the northern sector to exit their neighbourhood, Meloche and Industriel Streets, spurred a lot of fearful comments about the dangers associated with a heighten of traffic.
“There is approximately 1,100 cars in our sector. What you’re proposing here is an additional 2,800 cars and there is no plan to add an additional entrance or exit to our sector,” said Tom Broad.
“Right now we have 1,500 people trying to make their way out of the existing exits to the district. I have nine-year-old twins who have almost been killed several times by motorists flying down Meloche. What is it going to be like with 6,000 people with essentially only one more exit?, asked John Thompson who also fears property value might go down with the project going ahead as planned.
“There are rumors going around that our property value is going to drop by as much as 30 per cent. That’s just not acceptable. If any plan is done here it should be done with the thought and a guarantee that it will augment existing property value, not the contrary,” he said.
The potential loss of green space was also a major concern of citizens. Green Coalition vice-president David Fletcher got a huge round of applause both before after his speech denouncing the urban plan as not sustainable.
“I don’t think the project is at all sustainable. It will in the end, fill the territory with nothing more to be developed, no more choices for the future which by definition, is what sustainability is all about. The population here and the population of Montreal at large by virtue of the fact that they turned out in record numbers at the PMAD want environmental conservation to the maximum,” he said.