High-tech signs to improve Pointe Claire public security

By Robert Frank

Pointe Claire plans to install at least two large flat-screen signs along its major thoroughfares this year, Mayor Bill McMurchie told The Suburban in an interview.

McMurchie said that Pointe Claire considered installing signs with scrolling letters like those used by Dollard des Ormeaux, “but our council did not find that acceptable.”

“There will be one on St. John for sure, and one on Sources probably,” he said. “It will resemble more a television set.”

“We have to be able to communicate with citizens in the event of an emergency,” added Pointe Claire director of engineering and water treatment Guy Gauthier.

The city faced criticism in October, after its automated telephone call system failed to notify citizens quickly enough of a boil-water alert.

“The situation that we experienced last fall is the main reason for acquiring these signs,” Gauthier said, adding that Pointe Claire has also invested in revamping its www.ville.pointe-claire.qc.ca website to be better able to convey urgent public security messages to its citizens.

He told The Suburban that the flat panel displays, which will cost $50,000-$75,000 each to install and connect to the city’s information technology network, are “a new generation of technology.”

“They are much more precise and easier to read,” he explained, noting that St. Laurent and other towns have already installed similar devices.

Gauthier added that a committee will recommend to Pointe Claire council where best to situate the signs as well as which type of sign to purchase, what size and whether the devices ought to display messages on one or both sides.

McMurchie mentioned that a flat-screen display donated by Friends of the Pointe Claire Library (www.lesamisbibliopc.org) will be included in Phase 2 of the project.

He explained that “Phase 2 has not been budgeted” so the electronic notice board cannot yet be installed in the library’s entrance hall, because “any expenditure in a publicly owned building, regardless of where the funding comes from, must be approved by council.”
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