At the November meeting of Laval City Council, Mayor Marc Demers made a special announcement in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the independence of Lebanon from France, an event which dates back to 1943.
. Noting that 20,000 people of Lebanese origin call Laval home, Demers emphasized the important contributions in business, finance, technology, education, culture, entertainment, and politics made by this community to the vibrant life of Quebec’s third largest city.
The mayor proudly acknowledged, in particular, the presence on Council of Aram Elagoz, Sandra El Helou, and Ray Khalil, all three of Lebanese origin. The Lebanese community will be celebrating its Independence Day on November 22 at the Lebanese Festival.
Apparently, you can fight city hall
On the ‘more of the same’ side of the council session, citizens voiced the usual complaints and objections over ridiculous and inconvenient bicycle paths, excessive parking issues, and extending the pink line of the metro system to St. Vincent de Paul (Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante’s plan).
The environment once again took center stage, drawing ire and anger from concerned citizens demanding explanations, solutions, and resolutions to ecological issues that have been put on the back burner, in the opinion residents.
. Problems of traffic management, reduced road safety, and severely restricted parking were brought to Council by angry residents of Louis Payette Avenue, in Chomedey. The complaints specifically came down hard on bicycle paths situated on both sides, creating a narrow and dangerous street for vehicles and for snow removal. Pointing to severely reduced parking, residents were fit to be tied.
Mayor Demers explained that the paths were conceived and developed, taking safety into consideration. With the anger of residents threatening to rise to a crescendo, Demers exercised suitable prudence and discretion in promising to launch an investigation of the bicycle paths and the surrounding issues presented by the numerous residents of Louis Payette in attendance at the meeting.
To the mayor’s credit, action on this problem was swift, considering how slowly move the wheels of politicians when it comes to solving problems raised by taxpayers. On Friday, November 16, 2018 residents of Louis-Payette Avenue received a public notice from Philippe A. Guilbeault, Chef de division, Relations avec le milieu, announcing the simultaneous closing, for the winter (November 15 – April 14) of the bicycle path and reopening of parking on both sides of the Avenue between Curé Labelle Boulevard and 100th Avenue. New signs for alternate parking will be installed in the next couple of days, says Guilbeault in his public notice. It is stipulated that on the respective north and south sides of the Avenue, vehicles will have to park within the bicycle path limits on days when it is allowed. Kudos for citizens who spoke up and congratulations to city hall for responding to their legitimate concerns.
A clean environment and green Infrastructure
Vimont resident Yannick Langlois raised several environmental issues, addressing questions to Vimont councilor Michel Poissant. In his response Poissant stated that there are recommendations to take action to make the city of Laval a healthier, cleaner, and more vibrant place to live.
Mayor Demers disclosed that an array of sensible strategies and goals to improve the environment and livability were already under discussion. These include lowering energy costs through energy efficiency improvements, expanding mobility with more public transportation, and the continuation of free transportation for senior citizens which is already in effect.
Ste-Rose councilor Virginie Dufour addressed the issue of climate change and reminded everyone of the Montreal demonstration planned for November 10th. Of major interest to all municipalities and their mayors, the Montreal march was to set out a series of potential short-term/long term actions for municipalities to take to improve the environment. Laval residents were expected to join the demonstration.
The goals consist of improving air and water quality, ensure responsible use of land and green space, increase resource efficiency, and promote awareness to save the community and the planet from pollution and global warming.
Mayor Demers described the plan as an integrated approach to recognizing the strong dependency of the environment, the economy, and society on each other.