Martin C. Barry
During Laval city council’s Sept. 5 public meeting, Nicolas Liounis, a Chomedey resident for the past quarter-century and local pharmacy owner, deposited a petition with almost 3,000 signatures requesting a residence for senior citizens and medical/daycentre for the Chomedey area.
Want seniors residence
“We are asking for a meeting with you, mister mayor, in order to work out our project, said Liounis who was accompanied by a few supporters. He said the City of Laval’s support would be essential for a request to be made to higher levels of government.
“Councillors De Cotis, Borne, Karidogiannis and Mme Dib have already informed of our project,” added Liounis. “We are counting on a positive answer from you and we thank you mister mayor as well as all the members of the municipal council.”
City supports them
Mayor Marc Demers responded that he had just received a letter with their request. “We are in favour of this residential project for senior citizens with special health care,” he said. However, Demers added, the site they chose is currently zoned industrial and might not be appropriate for the purpose since it is in an industrial area and near an autoroute where there might be excessive noise from passing traffic.
“These are the two issues I am raising with you,” said Demers, while adding that he was inviting the project leaders to meet with the City of Laval’s economic development officials who might be able to help find the most appropriate location for the project. “And, yes, this is the kind of project we support, depending of course on its conforming to zoning and other regulations of the city.”
Place Bell added costs
During the meeting’s question period for citizens, Samir Boulos of Chomedey questioned Mayor Demers about the cost of Place Bell becoming inflated to a figure approaching $200 million.
Demers explained that when the current administration inherited responsibility for the Place Bell project four years ago, the initial cost had been estimated at around $153 million.
However, as the previous administration had underestimated parking needs, additional parking had to be added, said Demers, while more funding was also needed to implement commercial zoning around the Place Bell site.
Demers explains costs
“What I can tell you is that the cost will be less than $200 million,” said Demers. “And right now we’re quite under it, but there’s still bills coming in, negotiations to conclude. And as soon as everything is done it will be made public.”
According to the mayor, Laval’s cost will actually be $122 million (factoring in subsidies from other levels of government), “and we own the place one hundred percent,” Demers continued.
“Basically we did a very good deal. But most of all, this place was needed by our children and our families, our sporting associations. That’s why we went along with it.”
Limousine parking problem
Also during question period, Abdul Sater Milad, a Laval-based limousine service operator, complained that he had been subjected lately to visits from a regional limousine inspector telling Milad he had no right to park the vehicle on his own property.
The reason for this, he was told, is that the maximum length of a limousine is 16 feet 6 inches, while a new SUV he recently purchased is 17 feet long. When he decided to get around this rule by parking on the street, he learned that a City of Laval regulation forbids the parking of taxis or limousines on public streets.
Very persistent inspector
There was laughter in the council chamber as Milad went on to explain that when he finally decided to park the vehicle in his garage, the inspector said: “We’ll check to see if you have the right to park inside.”
He continued, “It’s actually not funny. I have a wife and three children,” while adding that he also has a few hundred thousand dollars in debt owing on his house and a hundred thousand in debt owing for his fleet of limousines.
The mayor said that this type of problem usually comes up when someone living nearby files a complaint and that when there are municipal regulations in place there is often no choice but to enforce them. He said he would look further into the matter and follow up.