by Rhonda Massad
There have been many public meetings on the West Island regarding the Réseau Electrique métropolitain’s (REM) light-rail train station that will be making its debut in 2020. The Kirkland Town Council has gone a step further by inviting residents to a planned participatory initiative that will give them a chance to be heard with regards to the area that will one day hold one of 27 stations. More than 750 residents signed up online and by phone to attend the event.
“Usually the process works in reverse,” Kirkland Mayor Gibson stated at the meeting on May 24th. “We want to make sure we understand what our residents envision for the area surrounding the station before any developers submit plans. The future of the area will be decided, and I want it to reflect what Kirkland residents want.”
Gibson promised in his opening address that Kirkland will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the integration of the project is carried out in the cities best interest.
The project promises reduced cars on the road hence a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, reduced traffic and job creation to the tune of 34,000 new jobs.
The presentation included an explanation of the REM project and its 27 stations, 13 incentive parking facilities and nine bus terminals.
Specific to Kirkland
Initially, the Kirkland station was slated for St. Charles and Highway 40 but was moved to Jean Ives due to anticipated traffic congestion on and around St. Charles as well as the difficulty of logistically accommodating a station in that location.
The Jean Ives location, according to Gibson, is better suited for the station because Kirkland can easily adapt new road infrastructures to the area as well as an opportunity to redevelop an urban heat island.
He is anxious to get started with public consultations for the usage of the commercial area adjacent to the station and hopes to have all parking underground, but this has not been confirmed at this point.
“The train is coming to Kirkland. Together. Let’s seize this opportunity to create a site that reflects the image of Kirkland, integrates our strategies and responds to our aspirations and needs.”
The public meeting was broadcast live on the Ville De Kirkland Facebook page and could be remotely viewed at City Hall for those who were not able to register in time to participate live at the Kirkland Arena.
The next public meeting planned in Kirkland is scheduled for June 14; all details can be found at www.ville.kirkland.qc.ca