Consensus on building Jacques Bizard corridor

Some Pierrefonds-Roxboro issues remain unresolved
By Robert Frank
Five years ago, Pierrefonds-Roxboro passed a resolution making Jacques Bizard its highest traffic priority. This week, Mayor Monique Worth affirmed to The Suburban in an interview that the Jacques Bizard project has the support of the other cities’ mayors.

“This is something that we all agree on,” she said. “We held a meeting in Dollard des Ormeaux about three years ago at which we agreed on transportation infrastructure.”

Likewise, both Kirkland mayor Ed Janiszewski and Pointe Claire mayor Bill McMurchie told The Suburban that the Jacques Bizard corridor is long overdue. Île Bizard residents desperately want the direct link extended to the Lakeshore General Hospital and oppose construction of the final highway 440 link that would join Montreal with Laval through their town.

This week, Liberal cabinet ministers Yolande James and Geoffrey Kelley, both of whom are currently running for re-election to the Quebec legislature, told The Suburban in separate interviews that they are prepared to support Jacques Bizard, as did Paola Hawa, the Coalition pour l’avenir du Québec candidate who is running against Kelley in Jacques-Cartier riding. Neither Parti québécois candidate either riding replied to telephone or electronic mail messages before The Suburban went to press.

“If there is a consensus—which quite frankly there has not always been—on moving this project forward straight away and as a priority, I will support what citizens require,” said James.

“Particularly north of the 40, there is great congestion along the north-south arteries and anything which can add capacity will be helpful,” agreed Kelley.

“Is there a magic formula?” asked Hawa. “Probably not. But what we do know is that right now the transportation infrastructure that we have is insufficient. It doesn’t serve the reality of the West Island.”

Dollard mayor Janiszewski, first elected in 1984, recalled how the project has failed to gain traction despite three decades of efforts.

“In 1987, Kirkland mayor Sam Elkas was elected [provincial] Minister of Transport and set aside money to build the overpass and [the municipalities] were going to share the other $16 million to pay for construction of the road.”

“We all agreed except for the Pierrefonds mayor, whom the town manager convinced to allow residences to be built there.”

Janiszewski said that since the 1980s, “no Pierrefonds-Roxboro administration has found a way to put a four-lane highway in front of all these residences.”

“They would have to expropriate and tear down at least one side of the road to make it viable,” he explained, “which would add $15-20 million to the cost of the project.”

“The other municipalities are not anxious to pay that extra money because of Pierrefonds’ selfishness.”

“Obviously there is no agreement,” Janiszewski concluded, acknowledging that despite the best of intentions, successive Pierrefonds mayors have been unable to get their citizens to commit to the additional expense.

“The only agreement that we have is that it would be nice to have it.” 
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