Plante must move forward on Cavendish extension, opposition says

“Clearly the administration has strayed from the commitment it made to Montrealers,” St-Laurent borough Mayor Alan DeSousa said of the long-delayed project.

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Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration must make good on its promise and move on to the next step of planning the Cavendish expansion, the city’s opposition says.

Stalled for decades, it appears that the project to extend the end of Cavendish Blvd. in Côte-St-Luc to Cavendish in St-Laurent, meeting at Royalmount Avenue, is no longer considered a priority in the city’s plan to develop 20,000 housing units around the former Hippodrome racecourse. Last month, the Plante administration presented its master plan for the sector. It calls for the construction of 10,000 units on the Hippodrome site and another 10,000 units east of Décarie Blvd. However, the main access road to the area will be Jean-Talon St., with the Cavendish extension coming later.

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“The fact that we have to table a motion to remind the Plante administration (of its promise) says a lot,” said St-Laurent district mayor Alan DeSousa, a member of the opposition Ensemble Montréal. “Clearly the administration has strayed from the commitment it made to Montrealers.”

In recent years, there has been some progress on the project. A draft has been submitted to the province’s Environmental Public Hearings Office in 2022. The next step before the BAPE can hold public hearings is to conduct an environmental impact study. However, last fall the city delayed a call for bids to award contracts to study the project, citing budgetary reasons.

The delay is frustrating, DeSousa said, because there is money set aside in the city’s capital works budget and there is also money set aside to conduct the studies.

“There has been a definitive and deliberate 180-degree turn,” he said. “The mayor is disingenuous in suggesting that she will extend Cavendish’s contract, albeit at a later date. “She pushed Cavendish out of the spotlight, took the money and reallocated it elsewhere, and is not quite willing and prepared to tell Montrealers that this project is now on the back burner and will be postponed years into the future.” .

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The opposition has the support of the mayors of the breakaway municipalities of Côte-St-Luc and the city of Mount Royal, as well as members of the business community. A press conference on the topic is scheduled for Friday morning.

Among those expected to speak are Sam Scalia, representing the Westbury Montréal development, and Claude Marcotte, executive vice president of Carbonleo, which is developing the Royalmount megamall. Cavendish is considered key to improving traffic flow in that area as thousands of new residential units are being built or planned.

DeSousa will be one of three elected officials making a public statement in support of the project Friday morning as part of a press conference held with the business community.

Speaking to reporters last month when he unveiled the Hippodrome development master plan, Plante said he hopes to move forward with developing the Hippodrome site in the coming years, but wants the city to first extend Jean-Talon toward west to the area earmarked for the future Cavendish extension.

“I want to assure everyone that what we call Cavendish-to-Cavendish is still in the plan, so it’s going to happen,” he said. “But what we have to do is (build it in phases). The first phase is to build Jean-Talon to Cavendish north, and we continue to work with all partners dedicated to connecting Cavendish north to Cavendish south.”

A spokesperson for Plante did not respond to a request for comment by press time Thursday.

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