A federal member of the Trudeau government will announce on Friday her intention to support the development of a promenade protecting the banks of the Rivière des Prairies, on land in Ahuntsic where Hydro-Quebec rather wants to hang in a massive way, has learned Press.
“We are talking about a great project developed by citizens themselves which will have a positive impact on the environment. My only question is: why not support them? », Launches the Member for Ahuntsic-Cartierville and outgoing Minister of Economic Development, Mélanie Joly, in a telephone interview.
It thus refers to the Promenade-du-Sault project, put forward by residents, which would consist in building a universally accessible promenade on the banks of the Rivière des Prairies.
But Hydro-Quebec has other objectives. Instead, the state-owned company intends to replace the almost 100-year-old 1.3 km cement shoreline wall with a long dike made of large rocks. Three small sections have already been completed urgently in 2019, but the rest is currently on hold. The citizen group says that this is not suitable for an urban environment like Ahuntsic.
“We must proceed”
Hydro-Quebec spokesperson Maxence Huard-Lefebvre recalls that “the Rivière des Prairies power station requires certain works on the Simon-Sicard dam, including the dikes and retaining walls which are 90 years old”. “This aging infrastructure means that we have to proceed with the work. They are subject to Dam Safety Act He argues.
As for the promenade project, the public relations officer returns the ball to the authorities. “We don’t think we have the legitimacy to position ourselves. There are people who are in favor, others who tell us they have concerns. It’s really a political decision, ”he argues, reiterating that his group remains“ open ”to dialogue.
For Mélanie Joly, it is clear that the Hydro-Quebec project does not obtain “social acceptability”, especially as the riprap “has an impact on the creation of heat islands”. “It is essential that we protect and green our banks, because we must ensure the quality of life of the people on the spot”, she insists, by committing to “pushing a little more the note ”in this file.
Of course, there is a possible compromise. It is also the social responsibility of Hydro-Québec to set up this promenade.
Mélanie Joly, Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville
Mr. Huard-Lefebvre assures us that the consultations which have taken place in recent months have made it possible to reach a consensus. “We are very sensitive, for example, to the height of the wall being projected. We are working to see what we can do to lower the wall and satisfy the local populations, while retaining the required technical characteristics, ”he says.
Montreal wants a BAPE study
Called to respond, the Plante administration indicated that it was pleased with the support expressed by Mme Joly to the Promenade-du-Sault project, recalling that the candidate for mayor of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Émilie Thuillier, had also committed herself to making the citizens’ project a reality in early October.
“We are concerned about the negative impacts that a possible riprap in this sector could have on the bank and on the waterfront promenade project. This is an issue that our team has been discussing with Hydro-Québec for over two years and which must be submitted to the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE), ”says press secretary Marikym Gaudreault.
In the ranks of Denis Coderre, the aspiring councilor of the district of Sault-au-Récollet, Gaetana Colella, affirms that her party “fully supports the Promenade-du-Sault citizen committee”.
“The plans for the retaining wall of the Simon-Simard dam are irreconcilable with our vision of environmental protection, in addition to not guaranteeing public access to the landscapes. We are also of the opinion that Hydro-Québec has not been able to listen to the people of Ahuntsic-Cartierville in this matter, ”she criticizes.