by JOHN MEAGHER, MONTREAL GAZETTE
Published on: July 19, 2017
Beaconsfield is not on tap for a new Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) light-rail train station, but Mayor Georges Bourelle is bullish on the project nonetheless.
“I’m favourable to it even though Beaconsfield has no direct benefit, like say Kirkland or Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue,” Bourelle said.
“For Baie-d’Urfé it will help their industrial park, but not their residents part so much.”
The 67-kilometre electric-train network, to be built at a cost of $6 billion, will connect the West Island with downtown Montreal, South Shore, Deux-Montagnes and Trudeau airport. The project is slated to be built by 2020.
The REM is being hailed as the most important transit project in Montreal since the Métro subway opened in 1966.
For Beaconsfield residents in the south part of the West Island, the closest REM train station will be in Kirkland, near the Kirkland Colisée cinema along Highway 40. Other nearby stations will be located in Ste-Anne–de-Bellevue and Pointe-Claire, west of Fairview shopping centre.
“For Beaconsfield, the REM train is certainly not a direct contribution to our needs for transit,” Bourelle said.
“We have had discussions with the government, and also with the Caisse de dépôt, and the AMT (train service) that is now in place is slated to continue and operate. In fact, Minister Martin Coiteux said maybe even improve (the AMT).
“So we’re hoping and counting on the commuter train.”
Bourelle does not think the REM will affect AMT transit in Beaconsfield.
“(Usage) won’t go down necessarily because you have the whole population below Highway 20 that uses it,” he said.
“So to me, where we are going to be benefiting from the REM is in the in-between hours, when people can’t take the AMT train downtown. Then at 11 or 11:30 p.m., if they’re coming home from the hockey game or whatever, they can take the REM and use public transit to get home, or take a taxi or whatever.”
Bourelle said bus routes will have to be redrawn and co-ordinated to bring commuters to and from the new REM stations.
“We’ll also have to review bike paths leading to the REM stations in Kirkland. From Beaconsfield, people will want to take their bikes to the station. This is another thing that will have to be worked out.”
Bourelle said there will be parking at the Kirkland station, but hopefully not everyone will drive to their nearest REM station.
“That’s why I’m saying, even when you look at Ste-Anne’s or Baie-d’Urfé, Kirkland, Pointe-Claire or Dorval, there will still be a lot of people will prefer to take AMT train, particularly at rush-hour in the morning and coming back at rush-hour at night.
“The REM will compliment that service.”