City suspends work on changing name of Saint-François Arena

The Laval city councillor responsible for the naming of places in Laval has announced the suspension of work by a committee that had been examining the possibility of changing the name of the Saint-François Arena to the Jacques St-Jean Arena on account of a recent controversy involving the former city councillor.

Recent news reports revealed that St-Jean, who served as city councillor for the district of Saint-François for decades, is facing influence-peddling charges related to community work he had done.

“The toponymy committee is of the opinion that if necessary, on the one hand, to conserve the presumption of innocence for Mr. St-Jean, that on the other hand we must proceed with a responsible analysis of the dossier until the legal processes are completed,” said Councillor Yannick Langlois who presides the committee.

The members of Laval city council agreed unanimously during their monthly public meeting last Jan. 12 to rename the arena for St-Jean, who was also a hockey coach and hockey school operator for decades.

According to Langlois, the naming of places in Laval is based on 19 criteria. The toponymy committee’s recommendations are made to the City of Laval’s executive-committee and to city council, which ultimately make any naming decisions.

Contract awarded for Berge des Baigneurs rejuvenation work

The City of Laval has awarded a more than $4 million contract to Cusson-Morin Construction for work to significantly upgrade the grounds, landscaping and overall layout of the Berge des Baigneurs in Vieux Sainte-Rose, a setting for several of Laval’s annual outdoor celebrations.

A landscape designer’s impression of the new layout the city plans to implement at the Berge des Baigneurs in Vieux Sainte-Rose.

According to a statement issued by the city, the parking lot and grounds surrounding the Sainte-Rose-de-Lima church next to the Berge des Baigneurs will be greatly improved in a first phase of the project.

“This is an important step we are completing in view of the work being done on the entrance towards the Berge des Baigneurs, an exceptional site that is highly appreciated by Laval residents,” said Sainte-Rose city councillor Virginie Dufour, who sits on the executive-committee.

She pointed out that the Berge des Baigneurs is one of the Laval region’s only riverside parks to be found at the heart of a neighbourhood as picturesque as Vieux Sainte-Rose.

“The revitalization that this site will be undergoing will be subject to changes adapted to the needs of visitors with regards to mobility, security and types of activities, as well as by easier access to the facilities and the Rivière des Mille Îles,” she continued.

Laval reached an agreement with church officials before setting the parameters for the work to be done. Last summer, an archeological excavation done on the site turned up some interesting artifacts which have been set aside for preservation.

Laval adopts new public consultation policy

During their April 13 meeting, members of Laval city council adopted a revised policy for public consultations and citizen participation.

According to the city, the new policy formalizes practices which have been in place since 2014 and which are meant to encourage participation by the population and interested organizations in the implementation of municipal projects.

The policy establishes five governing principles aimed at ensuring that proper procedures are followed and that all rules are observed. The policy also establishes conditions for the sharing of information and for defining the roles and responsibilities of all who are participating in public consultations.

“Over the past few years, we have put into place practices aimed at placing our population at the heart of decision-making,” said city councillor for Duvernay-Pont Viau Stéphane Boyer, who is alternate mayor and vice-president of the executive-committee. “Since 2014, more than 10,000 citizens have been gathered around more than 100 projects or consultative efforts,” he added. “The public consultation and participation policy reflects these exemplary practices. It is the best democratic tool to reinforce the bond of confidence between citizens and their elected representatives, to encourage a healthy relationship based on listening, dialogue and collaboration.”