City unveils plan to combat poverty in some neighbourhoods

The City of Laval has decided to take some innovative action to help combat poverty and economic problems in certain neighbourhoods on its territory.

A new policy position document was adopted by city council during its Nov. 5 meeting. Despite Laval’s overall high standing in Quebec as one of the province’s wealthier cities, the city says that one person in 10 lives below the poverty line.

The new policy will allow the city to plan and intervene in this regard more efficiently in order to revitalize neighbourhoods that are more affected by poverty, with an action plan containing more detailed procedures expected to be tabled sometime in 2022.

An important element of the plan, known as “Integrated Urban Revitalization,” will see action taken at the local level, with citizen participation encouraged. Some of the types of intervention the city will be making are as follows:

  • Bring municipal services, local residents and others together;
  • Identify priorities for actions to be taken;
  • Improve local infrastructure so that old can be remade into new;
  • Take actions to deal with “heat islands”;
  • Plan public spaces with quality and security as priorities;
  • Revive commercial streets.

Laval Fire Department tables 2021-2025 fire risk plan

During the Oct. 5 city council meeting, a fire risk plan submitted by the Laval Fire Department was tabled. The wide-ranging plan, the third such exercise in the application of strategic fire prevention, includes 54 actions to be taken over the next five years at a cost of $46 million. It comes into effect on Dec. 24.

“It is with the goal of always improving the protection of our citizens that this analysis of risks is undertaken every five years since the year 2000,” said Mayor Marc Demers, noting that the fire risk strategy is a requirement under provincial law.

“For the municipal administration, the fire risk plan is an important management tool to evaluate the needs of the population, while establishing well-documented recommendations for the improvement of the safety of all Laval residents.”

“For the Laval Fire Department and those who are responsible for rescue operations, the plan is a valuable planning took,” said Fire Chief Patrick Taillefer. “It allows us to analyze current risks on the city’s territory and takes into account prevention and intervention measures in order to reduce the probabilities for fires as well as human and material losses.”

Among the 54 measures in the new plan are the hiring of two new inspectors and 32 firefighters, the moving of Firehall No. 1 in Pont-Viau, and the reconstruction of Firehall No. 7 in Auteuil. As well, the fire department will be buying a new ladder truck for Auteuil and new pumper truck for Chomedey.

Some facts from the report:

From 2009 to 2019, there was an increase in the number of calls received by the fire department. This increase was attributed to the fact Laval’s population is steadily increasing, but also to a greater number of floods, wind storms and other weather-related calamities for which the fire department has to intervene.

Over the past 11 years, there was a significant decrease in the number of building fires. The report said this might be the result of greater emphasis on fire prevention and awareness-raising campaigns. On the more negative side, the number of buildings in Laval seven storeys or higher has increased greatly since 2013. These types of buildings are known to pose a higher fire risk in terms of evacuating people who live in them.