Quebec and Montreal take charge of the REM de l’Est project, the abandoned inner-city area

In response to numerous criticisms, the Quebec government along with the City of Montreal will take control of the Eastern Metropolitan Express Network (REM) project. The center section will also be cancelled.

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The two will work with the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) to finalize the planning and design of the project.

Until then, it was developed by the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec (CDPQ).

“Yet there remains a lack of social acceptability for certain sections, despite the many initiatives that have emerged in recent months,” the press release acknowledged.


Minister Chantal Rouleau, Prime Minister François Legault, Mayor of Montreal Valérie Plante and Mayor of the Municipality of Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles, Caroline Bourgeois.

Photo QMI Agency, TOMA ICZKOVITS

Minister Chantal Rouleau, Prime Minister François Legault, Mayor of Montreal Valérie Plante and Mayor of the Municipality of Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles, Caroline Bourgeois.

In the new version to come, the part in the city center will be removed from the REM de l’Est. However, the branches to the north of the metropolis and to the eastern tip remain in place.

Last March, the CDPQ Infra stated that it would put the project on hold without clear support from the Plante administration. The latter had responded by asking the Caisse to decide “clearly and publicly” whether or not to cooperate with the city.


Photo QMI Agency, TOMA ICZKOVITS

Since her re-election, Mayor Valérie Plante has been asking the City to sit at the decision-making table so that she can have a say in the project. A request that was repeatedly rejected by the CDPQ Infra, which considered the participation of the municipality in various advisory committees sufficient.

During the election campaign, Ms. Plante had also pledged to invest $500 million to overhaul urban development and enable better integration of the REM into the metropolitan landscape.

  • Listen to the news summary with Alexandre Dubé at Benoit Dutrizac’s microphone on QUB radio:


Photo QMI Agency, TOMA ICZKOVITS

Although it loses control of the REM de l’Est project, CDPQ Infra is still in charge of the REM de l’Ouest, whose first branch is to open in the fall.


Photo archive, Joel Lemay

Reviews

Since its announcement, the REM de l’Est project has caused a lot of controversy over its airway, which in the eyes of many groups will disfigure the center of the metropolis.

The Chinatown Task Force had denounced the project, believing it would have many negative impacts on the industry.

In Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, many citizens also opposed the airway, because of its excessive proximity to residential areas, and because it would pass near Morgan Park, a site of heritage value.

Via an internal note that QMI was able to obtain, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) was also critical of the REM de l’Est project.

According to this, the vast majority of future users would already use public transport, and that the REM would therefore cannibalize the existing infrastructures. She also calculated that the operating costs to be borne by the city “skyrocket” will increase.

The Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM) had also unveiled the main thrust of a report, which concluded that the eastern REM would cause significant inconvenience and other options should be considered, in line with the STM’s conclusions.

Exo, which operates the commuter train network, also expressed its own concerns during a public outing last February.

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