Martin C. Barry
Presenting his party’s commitments for public security in the City of Laval if he is elected, Action Laval mayoral candidate Jean-Claude Gobé said last week that under his administration Laval “will become the safest city in Quebec.”
Says more patrols needed
“There are insufficient police forces on our streets and this is a hindrance to the efficiency of our services,” said Gobé, noting that currently there are only five patrol cars out at night in Laval. “I pledge to double that number in the first year of my mandate,” he added.
“Our police officers will be more present and accessible than ever. The traditional role of the police officer tends to change. It is not only to enforce the law anymore, but also to intervene at the social level. Under my administration, they will be more present in our community.”
More security improvements
Gobé said that increasing the number of patrol cars in the streets of Laval, especially at night, would also have a direct effect on shortening response time, as well as significantly improving prevention of crimes. He said improved security could also be achieved through the establishment of a new police station to better serve western Laval.
“This is a demand from citizens and our public safety stakeholders,” continued Gobé. “The establishment of this new neighborhood station in the west is becoming a necessity, especially with the new developments and the growth of the population.”
Improved emergency plan
Another key commitment made by Gobé is to review and strengthen the various emergency plans the city has on hand. “Our emergency services are already doing an exceptional job with the means they have. Except that it’s not enough, I’m going to strengthen our structures to protect you. The City of Laval is not immune to a disaster and I want us to be ready.”
Gobé referred to the events of Sept. 13, when a suspicious bag containing unidentified vials was transported by car from the Cartier Metro station in Laval to the Henri-Bourassa Metro in Montreal. He also mentioned the train derailment along Quebec-Gatineau Railway line into the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.
Ready for emergencies
“In both cases, there were no hazardous materials,” he pointed out. “We were lucky, because there was no real emergency plan, both to evacuate people and to treat materials. I’m going to do more than prepare crisis communications plans, as Marc Demers did. I will make sure that our services are ready to act as soon as there is a report.”
Gobé said that under his administration a new command center would put all public services under the direction of the mayor and the chief of police. “This will be key to a vast coordination plan. In the event of a crisis, all services will be mobilized under the guidance of a single chief. This will avoid the various administrative faults and will make the city much more efficient in the event of a crisis.”
Working for First Responder
Gobé noted that for the past four years Action Laval has been lobbying for the establishment of a “first responder service” to be run in conjunction with the fire and police. “This commitment is important,” said Gobé. “I will work actively on it.”
Gobé said he would also work hard to obtain a strong commitment from the provincial government for the construction of a new hospital in western Laval. “One hospital for more than 400,000 residents is not enough,” Action Laval Chomedey candidate Aglaia Revelakis agreed, while adding that her party pledged to work towards the goal in the last election campaign.
Another hospital for Laval
“People in western Laval are having to go to Montreal now to get medical services, and it’s not right. And having one big hospital is something that doesn’t work. We have to be more local. This is why we are promoting the idea of a second hospital in Laval because the population is demanding it and there is a need for a second hospital.”
Action Laval candidate Nicolas Macrozonaris who is running in Sainte-Dorothée added, “I think we all know it’s no secret that the health care system has become overcrowded and not very efficient. So it’s logical for us to have this hospital as part of our plan.”
Gobé confirms security view
Last Sunday evening following a published news report about gunshots being fired in September during a soccer match held in Laval, Action Laval leader Gobé issued a statement reconfirming his party’s commitment to increasing security in the City of Laval.
“Our police force is insufficient, people have heard the bullets whistle and the police arrived 34 minutes after the first call,” he said. He continued, “This long wait is inconceivable. For 34 minutes, there would have been no one to stop the shooter.”
Gobé suggested that the Laval Police would not have been able to act in the event of a shooting, killing or terrorist act: “As I said before, we live in a globalized society and Laval is a metropolitan city, as the third largest city in Quebec, we must be ready to intervene in any situation.”