Beaconsfield defers decision on Batshaw

Passes motion opposing Hydro Quebec smart meters

By Robert Frank

Mayor David Pollock told residents who attended city council deliberations, April 22, that Beaconsfield has decided to postpone a pivotal decision that will determine whether Batshaw Youth and Family Centres may build a $50 million facility for troubled youth.

“The demolition [of the Portage youth addiction centre] is not on the agenda at this time,” he said.

Beaconsfield Citizens Association president Greg Stienstra invited the mayor to convene more public meetings with Batshaw to discuss the project, and former BCA director Gilles Perron asked whether there was any way to defer a decision on the appeals.

“There are appeals,” the mayor acknowledged “and we need more time to review them.”

Pollock took a much firmer approach to question period than he has done the past, after last month’s city council meeting was marred by a loud outburst during question period by BCA treasurer Hela Labene. Labene—who ran against Pollock for mayor during the last municipal election, but garnered only 408 votes—refused to be seated until after police had been called.

At this month’s meeting, two Montreal police officers sat discreetly at the back of the council chamber until the meeting concluded without serious incident. In an interview afterward, Stienstra distanced himself from Labene’s actions, stating that while she remains a member of the BCA executive, her remarks during the previous council meeting were not on behalf of the citizens’ group.

Wary of smart meters

The city passed a resolution calling on Hydro Quebec to reconsider its policy on installing smart electricity meters.

Mayor Pollock observed that there are differing scientific opinions as to the health impact of the devices.

“Some communities in the United States, use the smart meters to provide unlimited wi-fi internet service to all their residents,” he noted.

“My biggest issue is that there is no choice,” asserted Councilor Rhonda Massad, who emphasized that the city passed the motion to supporting its citizens’ concerns.

“Residents can’t revert to analog meters at no cost to themselves,” she said. Council also approved a $4.9 million expenditure to rehabilitate 5 km of the city’s ageing water mains.

Massad, who plans to run for mayor in November, noted that the infrastructure expenditure will be partly offset by a provincial grant of $2.2 million.

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