Action Laval unveils platform

Gobé calls for English CEGEP in Laval

By Robert Frank

Lacking local postsecondary institutions, too many young Laval residents are being forced over the bridge to get their education, Action Laval mayoral candidate Jean-Claude Gobé told The Suburban in an interview.

“Our population is quite young compared to Montreal and other areas of Quebec, and we only have one post secondary institution [Montmorency College],” Gobé observed.

“Laval youth have to take the subway, bus and car, and it costs them a lot more to go Montreal–about $600 a year just for transport.,” he said, calling for the addition of an English and another French CEGEP to Quebec’s third-largest city. “It’s just not right that in a city with a population of 408,000, these young people can’t study in their own community.”

In contrast, Champlain College has for more than four decades operated a campus to serve the much smaller non-francophone population of Quebec City, and Gérald Godin College serves a similar small French-speaking population on Montreal’s West Island.

Gobé also wants to attract universities like McGill, Concordia, Université du Québec and Laval University to set up campuses in Laval.

“Our University of Montreal campus is one of the finer accomplishments of the Vaillancourt administration,” he acknowledged. “Now we have to build on it.”

Higher education facilities like the ones in Boston and Munich foster centres of excellence, Gobé underscored, in a similar manner to the health sciences cluster that Laval has already developed at its biotech city, which attracted more than $1 billion in investment to the city last year.

Gobé is also vaunting a new riverbus service to Montreal, akin to Vancouver’s seabus, to break Laval’s commuter logjam.

“We want to implement a pilot project with STL or the private sector to reduce congestion,” he explained. “The vessels would carry pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, but not automobiles.”

Action Laval is also intrigued by Montreal’s BIXI bicycle-for-hire service, though Gobé was more circumspect about extending the project to Laval.

“We don’t want to goo too quickly with that,” he said.

Single bus pass

He does want to weld Montreal and Laval transit fares into one, though.

“We need a single bus pass to serve Montreal and Laval,” Gobé asserted. “Right now, the people of Laval have no choice because of all the services that they have to go to Montreal for.”

“They have to pay twice to take public transit to go to college, university or hospital,” he continued. “It’s unfair to have to pay $600-$700 more per year than other citizens, just because we live in Laval. For a city of more than 400,000, that’s simply unacceptable.”

Robocop cameras

Action Laval also wants to harness technology to reduced lawbreaking.

Gobé advocated implementing photo radar that is currently being tested in Laval. “I support placing the cameras on residential streets where people are driving too fast and don’t respect traffic signals,” he declared. “They are endangering children and senior citizens.”

He is also considering adding surveillance cameras in some public areas where vandalism and youth crime is rife.

“Not everywhere,” he reassured. “I don’t want to introduce too much police and control in Laval.”

Whither Fabreville?

Gobé declined to say specify when Action Laval plans to announce the remainder of its slate of district candidates for city council.

One conspicuous vacancy is in Fabreville, where Action Laval has yet to disclose its candidate, and where incumbent Martine Beaugrand has announced her intention to run again as city councilor, once she completes her term as interim mayor, Nov. 3.

Beaugrand was one of only two sitting members of city council untouched by accusations of illegal election financing.

She has not yet stated which party she might align herself with during the coming election, and Gobé declined to comment as to whether the interim mayor might join the Action Laval ticket.

According to Action Laval candidate Jean-Claude Gobé, Quebec’s third-largest city needs its own higher education facilities to become a centre of excellence in its own right.

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