Mayor Boyer offers condolences and help following tragic family incidents

Denies city was hiding anything after ‘Cité du Cinéma’ re-zoning cancellation

Following a minute of silence at the beginning of the the Nov. 1 Laval city council meeting, Mayor Stéphane Boyer opened with some comments on the two recent tragic events in Laval, in which a father allegedly killed his two children in Sainte-Dorothée, while a mother drove her vehicle into the Mille Îles River with two children aboard, resulting in the death of one child and her death in hospital around a week later.

Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer denied the administration concealed information about the Cité du Cinéma project in Saint-François during the Nov. 1 meeting of Laval city council. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

“I think we’re all in a state of shock after learning of these events, these tragic things, which are impacting us all – I think a lot of people have been left dumbstruck,” Boyer said. “What I would like to send out as message is that apart from these tragedies there are human crises and people who need help.

Unanswered questions

“We haven’t yet gotten to the bottom of the story as to what happened, that is whether there was a question of mental health, or if these were people who were suicidal, or if there was domestic violence. But the investigations will be telling us a lot more.

“But what I want to say most of all tonight is that if you have problems, if you have issues or troubles getting along, don’t wait until you do something you could regret, because there are resources available.” He suggested that by calling 2-1-1, anyone experiencing personal problems will be put into contact with a professional who can provide references to several organizations that offer assistance, regardless of the nature of the situation.

Help is available

These organizations could include food banks, psychological help or other services. “2-1-1 can help you, and there are translators. So, even if you don’t speak French or English, there are people who can help translate should that ever become necessary.”

Mayor Boyer said he was calling on all Laval residents to stand united with the families now in mourning, but also with the city’s emergency services staff, including firefighters and the police who intervened in both incidents. “It was also a shock for them to have to go through, and so our thoughts are with them,” said the mayor.

Elections just three years away

While the month of November marks the end of the first year in power for the Boyer administration, and the mayor took the opportunity to recap some of his team’s accomplishments, former Laval-des-Rapides city councillor Pierre Anthian (who ran for mayor in the elections last year) got up during public question period to remind everyone that there are only 36 months left until the next elections in 2025.

During the business portion of the meeting, council moved to cancel a by-law passed in July, which would have re-zoned several sections of Marcel Villeneuve Ave. in Saint-François in order to allow for the Cité du Cinéma, a project put forth by Montreal film studio promoter Michel Trudel, to be built.

This was after a Montreal daily revealed the existence of a report written by Laval urban planning officials, who deemed the Cité du Cinéma project to be unfit because it didn’t conform to the current urban planning scheme for the area.

Future of Cité du Cinéma?

While some residents of Saint-François spoke out against the project as inappropriate for a partly residential, partly industrial, partly rural area of Laval, and have filed a complaint with the Quebec Municipal Commission, Trudel said recently that he hasn’t given up on his plans, even though some local media have reported that he withdrew the project from Laval city hall.

Fabreville city councillor Claude Larochelle, who leads the official opposition on Laval city council, asked Mayor Boyer why staff at city hall continued to work on the Cité du Cinéma project when it was all but obvious it would never get off the ground.

For his part, Mayor Boyer denied Larochelle’s allegation that the report stated the Cité du Cinéma project didn’t conform to Laval’s master urban plan. “There is a grey zone,” he said, adding that the plan allows for a range of interpretations as to what sorts of projects are appropriate in given zones.

Boyer denies a cover-up

The mayor also categorically denied Larochelle’s allegation that the information in the urban planning report was deliberately hidden from Laval’s residents.

“Normal procedures were followed,” said Boyer, while maintaining at the same time that the administration had been transparent. “We said in a plenary in front of all the councillors that urban planning wasn’t favourable to the project … To say that things were hidden is false” However, Mayor Boyer did acknowledge that the report, which was addressed to the urban planning commission (CCU), stayed within the CCU, although he called that “normal” and in keeping with the accepted way of doing things according to Quebec municipal law.