- Community Life
The first meeting of the Committee on the Social Acceptability of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) in Town of Mount Royal took place yesterday at Town Hall. Its objective was to address the loss of public support caused by the rise in the number of trains in TMR, which will increase from 61 to 550 per day once the REM begins operations.
"This first meeting was constructive for everyone," said Mayor Philippe Roy. "Discussions were candid and respectful. They provided an opportunity for citizens to explain their legitimate concerns and for the Caisse to explain its commitments and responsibilities. What we all want is to find promising solutions with regard to sustainable development for current and future generations."
The committee is made up of 14 representatives of Town of Mount Royal, Ville de Montréal, CDPQ Infra, and TMR citizens. It was set up by the Town Council and is chaired by Mayor Roy. It was established following a public consultation held by Town of Mount Royal last month, during which more than 300 showed their legitimate concerns about the REM. A petition was also signed by over 500 TMR residents.
Although both Town of Mount Royal and the public support the transportation-related and environmental benefits of the REM project, the massive negative impact of its operations on quality of life in TMR have led to a loss of public support.
The short, 1.8-km section of open railway that runs through TMR, one of the most densely populated residential communities, will serve as an epicentre for the REM. Three feeder lines serving Deux-Montagnes, the West Island and the airport, as well as a Montréal-East rail connection will converge there, before heading toward downtown Montréal. It is expected that more than 550 trains will pass each day, every two minutes during rush hours and every five minutes outside of those periods, 20 hours per day, 7 days per week. They will have an impact on air quality, safety, aesthetics; in general quality of life, and create noise and visual pollution, as well as lead to vibrations in the area. As a comparison, the rate of passing trains will be higher than that of the Montréal metro during rush hours, for which a dedicated tunnel was built with a safe underground route and no public access to the tracks.
"We are asking involved policy-makers to show vision, comply with the Quebec sustainable development policy, and quickly begin a true, official review of the new REM service in TMR," said Mayor Roy.