Citizens want answers on closed exit

By Kevin Woodhouse

Despite only 11 residents being in attendance at Monday night’s Sainte Anne de Bellevue council meeting, Question Period was a lengthy and raucous affair as pro-mayor Michel Bouassaly did his best to lessen the acrimony from citizens upset with the lack of progress in opening Exit 41 that has been closed since March 2011.

One resident, who had obtained a copy of former engineer Daniel Doran’s letter to Mayor Francis Deroo dating back to February 16, 2011, through the access to information law, wanted to know why council had unanimously decided to close the bridge two weeks prior to receiving the then city engineer’s report.

Councilor Ryan Young admitted to not even reading the report but took the engineer at his word “when he told us that the bridge was not safe.”

“It is the responsibility of the council to read each report and it will be important to do so in the future before signing off on anything else,” said councilor Paola Hawa.

Another resident inquired why the city could not be transparent and release the report for all of the citizens to consult. There was no direct answer to that question but Bouassaly, appearing nervous during the question and answer period that often degenerated to several people talking over each other at once, including councilors, said that “we had to close the exit based on the information we had for the security of the public and this file is still being worked on.

“We are still looking for a solution with the MTQ,” added Bouassaly. “That is all we can say right now.”

Hawa mentioned to the assembled that she believes a Plan B is needed and that the city do not simply rely on replacing the structure with a T-section.

The council also approved of letting a non-voting member of the Urban Planning Committee, also a non-resident, to remain on said committee. The vote was passed in a 3-2 vote.

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