Quebec Transport Minister Sam Hamad can expect a rough ride from the residents of Montreal's Southwest borough if the government's $1-billion overhaul of the Turcot Interchange doesn't take their concerns into account, the borough's mayor said yesterday.
"Even if the Turcot project isn't in the news, people in the neighbourhood are still working -circulating petitions, putting signs in the metro," Vision Montreal city councillor and borough mayor Benoit Dorais told reporters.
"We've seen how, in the past, the Quebec government has gone ahead with projects, the public has mobilized and the government has backed off," he said.
"Never take the people of Montreal or the people of the Southwest for granted, for people who will keep quiet. These people are mobilized and have fought for all kinds of causes in the past."
Dorais, accompanied by Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel, made his comments as pessimism over the project's final version -expected to be made public as early as Tuesday - appears to be gaining critical mass.
Harel criticized Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay for "remaining silent" on just what Montreal would do if the project -which was the object of public hearings two years ago -ignores city recommendations that it be designed to encourage the use of public transit and not involve the expropriation of residences.
And both complained that even though the Southwest is where the project will take place, Hamad, who was named transport minister in August, had ignored repeated requests from the borough to meet to discuss the project.
"But things are happening," Dorais said. "Negotiations are going on between the city the and the province, and (preparatory) work is going on at the site.
"What's it for? We don't know." Maxime Sauvageau, a spokesperson for Hamad, would not specify when the Turcot announcement would be made, but said "it was a given" that the minister would meet with the borough before any announcement.
Vision Montreal's call for a meeting with Hamad followed an announcement by Projet Montreal leader and city councillor Richard Bergeron that he would resign from the city executive committee if Tremblay supported a version of the Turcot plan that did not adhere to the city's demands.
On Monday, Tremblay said he was "convinced" the Turcot plan would be modified to the city's satisfaction.
The elevated Turcot Interchange, which opened in 1967, connects Highways 15, 20 and 720 through a series of 20-metre-high ramps and overpasses. About 280,000 vehicles use the interchange daily.
--------------------------------------------------------Cheers !! HF&RV---------------------------------