Laval to save ‘Bois du Trait-Carré’

Opposition seeks to obtain changes to Laval’s municipal charter

Laval is taking measures to save ‘Bois du Trait-Carré’
Laval city council held its most recent monthly public meeting on Aug. 7.
Martin C. Barry

A divided Laval city council spent much of their monthly public meeting on Aug. 7 pondering the future of one of Laval’s remaining forest spaces – the Bois du Trait-Carré – as well as an opposition proposal to change the city’s charter and decentralize power from the executive-committee and mayor’s office to the councillors themselves.

Mayor Marc Demers opened the meeting with a statement to the effect he would be recommending the creation of a new committee to examine issues surrounding the Bois du Trait-Carré, which is a wooded space in eastern Chomedey around Saint-Martin, Laval and de l’Avenir boulevards.

Saving Bois du Trait-Carré

The area is on the verge of being developed. Fabre city councillor Claude Larochelle, who represents the official opposition Parti Laval, tabled a motion calling for the city to conserve the entire site of the Bois du Trait-Carré by preventing commercial development there and taking measures to have a school surrounded by the woods built there.

Although voting on the council is currently dominated by 11 councillors who do not regard themselves as allied with the mayor and his Mouvement Lavallois municipal party, the resolution remained in limbo after a vote in view of the fact the mayor still holds a right of veto over any resolution. The item was deferred for additional study until it is retabled at a future council meeting.

During the public question period, the mayor was asked to comment on the slow progress being made towards building an aquatic complex
Mayor Marc Demers answers questions during the Aug. 7 city council meeting at

Charter changes sought

The opposition wants to restore Laval city council’s powers as they were decades ago. As such, Larochelle, party leader Michel Trottier and others have sent a request to the Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs to modify the city’s charter. The purpose of the resolution was to confirm that the city is also agreeing to seek the changes.

“The current charter takes from elected officials fundamental powers while we have duty to represent,” Larochelle said in a statement on the issue. “The municipal council is a democratic body that has been neglected for too long in Laval, and today we must take back our rights like other municipalities in Quebec.”

Aquatic complex questions

During the public question period, the mayor was asked to comment on the slow progress being made towards building an aquatic complex for the city. “Within a few weeks we should be able to announce a more precise orientation,” he responded, while adding that some of the information can’t be released for now as it is regarded as sensitive to closing a deal to build the aquatic complex.

Also during question period, Gaétane Girard of Chomedey complained about the proliferation of reserved public transit lanes on Curé Labelle Blvd. near Autoroute 15, which she claimed are not helping but rather are contributing to traffic problems. “I ask that the reserved lane on Curé Labelle be abolished in its entirety,” she said.

New city administrators

Also during the meeting, the city announced the appointment of two new assistant-directors to the administration at city hall. Firstly, Nathalie Marchand is joining the administration as assistant-director for operations and development of business solutions in the department of innovation and technologies. Secondly, the city announced the promotion of Francis Thibeault to the post of assistant-director for planning and development for real estate investments in the department of economic development.

And the city also announced that it has concluded a new agreement for the next three years with Tourisme Laval, the at-arm’s-length municipal agency responsible for promoting Laval as a tourist destination. The city’s contribution to Tourisme Laval in 2018 will be $445,800. According to the city, tourism accounts for 11 per cent of employment in Laval.