"It is unacceptable to butcher the living environment of citizens."
The proposed aerial structure for the REM de l'Est project is under fire once again. A group called the Collectif en environnement Mercier-Est has launched an official petition on the National Assembly website to stop the project and bring it back to the drawing board.
The group is calling on the government and on CDPQ Infra, the company behind the REM, to reevaluate the proposed aerial structure and come up with a plan that won't, as they put it, "butcher the living environment of citizens."
In the petition, the group contends that "this aerial structure erected at a short distance from buildings in densely populated areas will generate multiple negative impacts for the neighbourhoods crossed."
The Collectif also argues that the light-rail network will "cannibalize existing public transit services."
Plans for the REM de l'Est have it running parallel to the eastern wing of the metro's green line.
The group asks that the government move to:
- "Immediately suspend all work on the REM de l'Est, including its design.
- "Mandate the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) to conduct an analysis of public transit needs in the east of Montreal.
- "Hold a public consultation with citizens on the conclusions of this analysis and the examination of possible alternatives for implementing a mode of public transit adapted to a densely populated urban environment."
CDPQ Infra, meanwhile, insists that the aerial structure was "selected based on its range of benefits." The company stressed that the design will, in fact, minimize the ground footprint of the REM de l'Est and integrate well into the surrounding neighbourhoods.
It also noted that an aerial structure would allow for the creation of new public spaces underneath it.
The Collectif en environnement Mercier-Est is undeterred, though. In an open letter published in the Journal Métro, group representatives Daniel Chartier and Michel Lincourt called out what they described as "an implausible omerta [surrounding] this project" and warned that it "will drain colossal amounts of public money."
"The real data on the basis and financing of the project remain almost entirely secret."
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