by Karen Cliffe
About 500 West island residents, business owners, and elected officials showed up for the REM (Réseau express métropolitain) meeting this past Monday, April 29, at the Holiday Inn Pointe Claire.
The Rem representatives were quick to push a NEW vision for the future with the primary goal of reducing the use of cars in Montreal and West Island. The representatives offered alternatives to cars such as buses, taxis, and bicycles. Many residents expressed their concerns about traffic, general lack of information and primarily parking.
The West Island has been guaranteed 700 parking spots for the West Island, however, there was a general consensus that is NOT a sufficient number to serve the needs of the West island population. A REM spokesperson said they will be consulting private landowners and municipalities in order to try and come up with a viable solution.
Here is a general summary for those who were unable to attend.
- West Island to Downtown 30 min
- Train every 10 min during rush hours
- Train every 15 min during non-rush hours
- Antoine Faucon will NOT be extended
- Environment animal welfare will be respected says Spokeswoman from the REM, new wetlands to be created if necessary.
- REM vision. Decrease dependency on cars. Encourage bus, taxi, etc
- No washrooms or commercial establishments at any of the REM stations.
- Rio-Can, the proprietor of the Kirkland mall, has a project to redevelop the site, although no details were discussed.
- The 2,000 parking spaces that were in the original plans for the Kirkland station were eliminated because it seems RIOCAN wanted to redevelop and costs
- As for the cost of fares to use the trains; a REM official said there would be a “new fare program”. No real answer yet. Submitted to RTM.
- As for the possibility that people will have to pay for parking, the response was “it has not been decided yet”
- Original 15 meters in height is now 12 meters causing potential issues with infrastructure and overpasses
REM officials were bombarded with questions about whether there will be PARKING at the Kirkland station. The response was that REM still has 4 years to work out the problem before the service comes to the West Island in 2023. A REM spokeswoman said the parking issue is being discussed with the owners of the Kirkland and Pointe-Claire shopping centers. She confirmed there are only 700 parking spaces at two other West Island stations but that others will be confirmed in the coming months. She also indicated that just because there was no parking indicated for Kirkland and Pointe-Claire on the REM website, it doesn’t mean there will be “zero parking”.
The possibility that the planned REM airport station could be extended to the Dorval bus terminus and VIA train station hasn’t been ruled out. At the Monday, April 29, West Island REM information session, a Dorval city Councillor made the suggestion and a spokeswoman for REM said if the government asked the builders to do that, it would look at the proposal.
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Kirkland Citizens association