By Kevin Woodhouse
But what if, as a large municipal body, you are seen as “invisible” to the decision makers in the National Assembly? That is exactly what happened to the West Island mayors who first ventured to Quebec City along with Clifford Lincoln to gain support for the Train de l’ouest project.
This past February, 35 municipalities that make up the West and off-island towns and boroughs came together to create a legal entity known as Couronne ouest, that encompasses more than 1,200 square kilometres of area and more than 420,000 residents.
The agency’s mandate is to create further ties between neighbouring municipalities and elected officials as well as speak to government agencies on behalf of residents for issues like health, education and transportation to name a few.
Tutino has been named vice-president of the legal body and noted that “the renewal of our municipalities’ collaboration regarding the Train de l’Ouest project shows that together, the West Island and Vaudreuil-Soulanges are a united front that cannot be ignored.”
In a recent interview with The Suburban, Train de l’ouest co-founder Lincoln felt confident in the project’s future because the Couronne ouest will command enough clout showing a desperate need for improved public transportation for off-island and West Island commuters.
How will the extension of Highway 440 for Pierrefonds and Dollard commuters ever come to light if the borough is responsible for footing the entire bill? Or with Exit 41 in Ste. Anne de Bellevue being closed since March 2011, with the city insisting its citizenry should not have to pay millions for an access point used by many motorists and not just Ste. Anne residents?
So far, the city has insisted the MTQ pay its share but the government has not blinked, stating the exit is the city’s responsibility. Would the MTQ allow the small city to get the job done on the government’s dome in the current scenario? The answer has to be a flat no as that would be precedent setting.
Maybe the wider reach of the Couronne ouest, working together for a common goal, could take on the challenge of beating back Bill 22 to a more equitable ration.
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