Montreal council adopts Cavendish link motion, but concerns remain

The area between Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent where a Cavendish link would be built.

Montreal council unanimously adopted a motion calling for the city administration to, no later than May 1, mandate the Montreal administration to submit a project notice and preliminary studies regarding the long-awaited Cavendish link between Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent to the provincial Environment ministry.

The motion was proposed by Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand, and seconded by city Opposition leader Lionel Perez, St. Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa and Montreal executive committee member Eric Alan Caldwell of Projét Montréal.

But Rotrand and Perez, while hailing the passage of the motion, expressed concerns about what happens afterwards.

“We have won the principle of the Cavendish extension, and that is a game changer,” Perez said. “It can no longer be argued that the city administration is not on board.”

But their concerns include:

• There is no guarantee that the BAPE will hold its environmental hearings on the link this year, “and even if that starts this year, the report may be next year,” Rotrand said.

• “The funding for Cavendish remains vague,” Rotrand says. “The city’s capital budget contains a $245 million inscription — but almost all of that is to be spent between 2028 and 2030. There is only $1.5 million total for 2021, 2022 and 2023, and that is to pay to draw up plans and the above mentioned submission.” Perez said that “we will still struggle to move funding up from 2030... . However, the City of Montreal won’t be able to hide behind the lack of consensus argument anymore.”

• While the Plante administration says the link should proceed, “in council, they said that they hope the road has a very low vehicle capacity and that they also hope there would be a tramway on the roadway,” Rotrand said. “While there is a consensus — and always has been — that Cavendish shouldn’t be an expressway or a high volume boulevard, taxpayers may have difficulty supporting the idea of a $245 million expenditure that gives priority to bicycles and limits motorized traffic.”

(According to media reports, Catherine Cadotte, on behalf of Montreal’s executive committee, has said the current administration wants an emphasis on electric public transit.)

• Rotrand and Perez are concerned the design that the administration will release will be “inadequate.” “It is likely that the city will host an event to unveil its design this spring, and just as likely that it will have few supporters in our part of town, but be aimed more at Projet Montréal’s base, which promotes cycling over other modes,” Rotrand said.

Rotrand and Perez are predicting the Cavendish link will be an election issue this year.

“Those who support it as a way to disenclave the Centre West of the island, promote development of vacant land like the Hippodrome and respond to Montreal’s legal obligation, will push for a reasonable plan likely to be different than what Projet Montreal proposes,” the Snowdon councillor said. “Given the unanimous city council vote, the next city administration elected this coming November — assuming a change in administrations — can work with the government of Quebec to assure that the Cavendish — Cavendish link meets the needs of Cote St. Luc, Cote des Neiges — Notre Dame de Grace, St. Laurent and Town of Mount Royal, regardless of what Projet Montreal releases in the way of a plan in May.”

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