Chomedey, Laval des Rapides and Pont Viau seniors hardest hit
By Robert Frank
The Parti au Service du citoyen (PSC) sounded the alarm last week about Laval’s rising poverty rate, and has announced that it will adopt concrete measures to stem the city’s growing inequality, if it is elected to city hall, Nov. 3.
“Although Laval’s considered to be prosperous, poverty affects a big chunk of the population,” indicated PSC leader Robert Bordeleau. “While poverty can be found throughout the city, some districts like Chomedey, Laval des Rapides and Point Viau are particularly hard hit.”
Increasingly, the face of poverty is the face of the Laval’s rapidly increasing ranks of the elderly, he told reporters during a news conference, Sept. 26.
“Of the thousands of Laval residents who find themselves in dire financial straits, a a large proportion of them are senior citizens. Despite many forms of government aid, nearly 45 per cent of Laval residents aged 65 or older have income worth only $10,000-$20,000.”
That meager income is directly tied to ill health, he said.
“Our aging population is therefore an important factor in our war on poverty and social ostracism,” Bordeleau declared.
He proposed a three-pronged counterattack.
“First is to act on the economic front and ensure that this is a priority for local economic development agencies. Second is to allocate 3 per cent of current property taxes to the city’s organizations and community centres to provide services that Laval residents can count on, in times of need.”
“Finally, PSC proposes to set up a special fund to build affordable social housing for low-income and special needs households, including the shomeless, the elderly and the handicapped, among other,” Bordeleau concluded. “This initiative would mostly comprise federal and provincial funding.”
PSC also intends to force Laval’s thriving property developers to set aside 15 per cent of their residential projects for affordable social housing. As reported two weeks ago in The Suburban, Laval led Quebec in house price increases during the past year.
Bordeleau’s party also wants to revamp the city’s housing code to ensure that Laval’s inventory of residences continue to provide “clean and decent locales”.
PSC said in a statement that it also intends to open public hearings on Laval’s social conditions and quality of life. The consultation would be headed by PSC candidates Carole Grenier (St. Martin) and Éric Heuser (Concorde-Bois des Filion), if they are elected to city council next month.
The party also announced its plan to set up an Elders Council under the chairmanship of another PSC city council hopeful, Jean-Jacques l’Heureux (Vimont), with Gilbert Lalonde (Val des Arbres) mooted as vice-chairman.
As The Suburban reported, Sept. 18, fresh figures from the 2011 census revealed that poverty pockets abound in the parts of Laval where most non-francophones reside.
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