My letter to the editor that was published in the Gazette:
Re: “Election 2013: How to revive a depressed street” (On the Trail, Oct. 17)
In his blog post, René Bruemmer asks what can be done to revitalize commercial areas, and how can a city councillor bring more human traffic to help merchants and improve an entire neighbourhood. Bruemmer rightfully points out that I have made it a priority of my local platform. So here is my answer.
First, Monkland Village demonstrated its potential with a very successful three-day festival at the end of August — which I had the pleasure of co-hosting with Sharman Yarnell — that attracted over 75,000 people. The Monkland Merchants Association now wants to form a Société de développement commercial, and I would strongly support that effort as a city councillor.
I believe the key to making Sherbrooke St. West a destination is to make it a cultural neighbourhood. We finally have a serious group of developers (Cinema NDG) willing and able to renovate the Empress Theatre, and make it an attraction. In addition, I would work to secure an artists’ workshop, before our local artists are pushed out of the neighbourhood by rising real-estate prices. I would then leverage these projects to redesign the area and revitalize that stretch of Sherbrooke St.
Let’s be honest: Upper Lachine Rd. will never be a vibrant commercial street so long as St-Raymond remains isolated behind the CP rail track. The key project I would push here would be to have a railway crossing on Oxford Ave. for cyclists and pedestrians where the new school will open in a couple of years. This safe passage would bring Upper Lachine much closer for a lot of potential customers.
Finally, there is a small commercial stretch on Décarie Blvd. that sits next to a métro station where thousands of people pass by every day, yet none of them are selling coffee and muffins to go! As a city councillor, I would help create a more natural link with Villa Maria (both the College and métro station) by overhauling the flow of that entire intersection, which is inherently tedious and unsafe for pedestrians.
Vibrant commercial streets are at the heart of the better livable neighbourhoods I want to develop in N.D.G. A city councillor has a lot of tools at his/her disposal to help revitalize commercial areas, and I hope that the citizens of N.D.G. district will give me the mandate on Nov. 3 to work on that agenda.
Candidate for city councillor, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Coalition Montréal — Marcel Côté