City Watch – November 20th, 2019

Laval recuperates $50 million more from shady contractors
City has ex-Charbonneau Commission members on recovery team

(TLN) Laval Mayor Marc Demers announced recently that the city has succeeded in recovering nearly $50 million believed to have been illicitly taken from Laval as a result of elusive practices used by construction contractors and exposed by the Charbonneau Commission.

“The recovery of sums overpaid because of the corruption and collusion that went on previously in Laval is a priority for our administration and I am very proud that we are the uncontested leaders in this regard,” said Demers.

Result of teamwork

“I would like to acknowledge the exceptional and tenacious work of the team we created under the supervision of Me Simon Tremblay, director of legal affairs,” he added. “This team, on which a large number of members came from the Charbonneau Commission, has an expertise unique in Quebec and it will be pursuing its efforts to recuperate even more money belonging to Laval residents.”

Agreements paying off

Demers said the $50 million that was recovered was the result of agreements made as part of the voluntary reimbursement program stemming from a provincial law, but also from agreements from outside this program.

“Even though the government program is over now, we continue to make necessary efforts to see that the rights of taxpayers are upheld in order to recover the maximum amount of funds misappropriated since 1997,” continued Demers.

Sums being returned

“Up until now, in addition to numerous regulations enforced, seven lawsuits were launched and several others will follow.”

According to the city, all the sums recovered are being directly returned to citizens and to the community in several ways:

The Place-du-Souvenir Fund was created to channel funding to causes affecting youths 0-17 years of age from disadvantaged backgrounds; $20 million is being put aside to improve natural green spaces; and the city has created a special cash reserve fund to avoid going into debt in certain cases.

Results achieved

“Our determined will to recover what belongs to Laval residents, paired with the efficiency of our team, is giving us excellent results,” said Demers. “We are continuing the work and other pursuits will be added in the coming months, without limiting ourselves only to construction contracts.”

Turn recovered $50 million into tax freeze, says Action Laval
Opposition party says Demers should show concern for taxpayers

(TLN) Action Laval, which is the opposition party at Laval city hall with the largest number of elected members, says the city should immediately impose a property tax freeze using the $50 million Laval has managed to recuperate from vast sums garnered by corrupt contractors between 1996 and 2010.

Tax freeze sought

“Last May, we presented a proposal for a tax freeze for the 2020 and 2021 budgets,” said Action Laval councillor for Vimont Michel Poissant. “For purely partisan reasons, the Demers administration voted against this measure rather than thinking of citizens first.

“Until very recently, they were talking about $42 million,” he continued. “Today the mayor says that $50 million has been recovered. Therefore a tax freeze is even more justified. Let’s be clear: the recovered sums from corruption belong to the taxpayers of Laval. A part of this money should be given back to the citizens.”

‘Show concern,’ say De Cotis

“Marc Demers is boasting from every podium of having recuperated $50 million,” said Action Laval councillor for Saint-Bruno David De Cotis. “But now it’s up to him to demonstrate his concern for citizens by giving back some of it to them.

“It would be the least he can do,” De Cotis added. “Unless he is thinking of throwing this money out the window as is his habit, given all the bad management decisions he has taken or is thinking of taking. The taxpayers are choking financially and a tax break would be for them a breath of fresh air.”

Laval says it’s ready for anything winter has prepared
City has purchased new equipment for snow removal needs

(TLN) With the first snowfall now settled in Laval, city officials say they are deploying a new strategy this winter to ensure snow removal takes place efficiently until the cold season’s end.

Climate change impact

“The impacts from climate change are making themselves felt more and more and we are working relentlessly to meet the needs of citizens, especially those on residential streets, taking into account these new realities,” says Laval city councillor and executive-committee member Ray Khalil who is responsible for public works dossiers.

As it did last year, the city is putting into place this year a special snow patrol whose task is to help facilitate the snow removal operations by reminding residents of snow operations underway while encouraging respect for the regulations. There will also be additional staff in the patrol this year.

New gear to face winter

This winter, according to the city, the public works department has new equipment for removing snow from sidewalks, for loading snow onto trucks and for spreading salt on icy sidewalks and roadways.

Scheduling has also been improved to maximize workers’ time. As well, the city is launching a new smartphone app known as Neige Laval for monitoring snow removal operations.

It should soon be available for free from the App Store and on Google Play. For the time being, information on the City of Laval’s snow removal operations can be found at the web site