The West Island is well known for its single-family home neighbourhoods however, with the impending expansion of the Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) stations along Highway 40, the time has come to compromise and accept that some central transit-oriented development projects are coming.
In the fall of 2016 Mayor Georges Bourelle from Beaconsfield was interviewed by the West Island Gazette where he summed up there would be backlash to any potential high-density development around future REM stations.
“When your neighbourhood is about single-family dwellings, people get alarmed with the concept of densification,” he said.
Currently there are two stations which are planned for Pointe-Claire on Sources Blvd. and Fairview Ave., as well as stops in Kirkland next to the mall along Jean-Yves St. and another in Ste-Anne-de Bellevue on Ste-Marie Road.
The West Island will also have a connection to REM stations at Dorval airport and 2 more stations that will pass through Pierrefonds on the way to the station in Deux-Montagnes.
Pointe-Claire’s housing market has recently gone through an expansion with various condominium and townhouse projects including completed and ongoing ones all along Hymus Blvd. as well as on Brunswick Blvd. facing the Fairview shopping centre. The city has also seen potential mixed-use development of vacant land between the highway service road and Brunswick Blvd., just west of Fairview Ave.
Around 2 years ago a potential 800-unit residential development in Kirkland on part of what was once the old Merck campus was eventually dropped due to stiff resistance from residents who opposed the townhouse and condo projects which were being promoted by the property owner Broccolini.
You would assume easing access to these stations for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists should be a no brainer however, Montreal’s Plante administration has already messed it up when it comes to a new north-south urban boulevard linking Pierrefonds west to Kirkland and its REM station. To the joy of local officials and residents, Montreal is proposing limiting access on the planned urban boulevard to buses and bikes instead of allowing private cars to access the station for either quick drop-offs or to park on site and board the light-rail train which should ease up the congestion.
Pointe-Claire officials have long called for a new Highway 40 interchange to be built to connect Stillview Ave. with the Jacques-Bizard corridor, or at the very least to Brunswick Blvd. This seemingly well- intentioned but so far just a dream proposal would improve access for cars, bikes and pedestrians to the future REM station near Fairview.
It will be essential for municipal and REM officials to plan ahead for future development and road network improvements. Proponents of the West Island portion of the REM network might be experiencing some concern about possible delays or the project being halted outright by the new François Legault-led CAQ government citing possible cost factors.
The good news is that preliminary work on the REM in the West Island began last fall, although local station construction is only expected to start in about two years, with anticipated opening dates in 2023.
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