Pointe-Claire councilor rips mayor over planning

“Leaders are meant to lead from the front, not from the back,” Councilman Brent Cowan said, in a jab at Mayor John Belvedere.

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Outgoing Pointe-Claire Councilor Brent Cowan once again denounces outgoing Mayor John Belvedere for his lack of leadership in matters of urban planning and overall vision for the city.

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In a letter sent to the media following last week’s council meeting, Cowan took issue with Belvedere’s statement that the city plans to review its urban master plan in 2022, after the upcoming Nov. 7 election. .

“It is also unfortunate that the (mayor’s) statement comes at the end of this council’s term and not at its beginning when it should have been released,” Cowan wrote. “It is also unfortunate that we did not receive the mayor’s vision and that the council did not come up with their collective vision. Leaders are meant to lead from the front, not the back.

Belvedere said the city will conduct a public consultation as it updates its urban plan, taking into account the future arrival of the REM which has accelerated development in the area called the “centre- West Island town.

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“The public consultation that led to the urban plan in 2011 projected a vision for the development of Pointe-Claire over the next 25 years,” said Belvedere. “In light of what we’ve been through for three years, it needs to be revisited after only a decade, which is rather unusual, but necessary given these new realities.”

As for the City’s approval of massive development projects like the 700-unit Place Frontenac project, Cowan noted, “I cannot accept that our urban plan and subsequent specific urban planning programs have not not anticipated the densification that is currently occurring.

“Public consultations regarding the future of our city are a good idea but not as an administrative matter,” he added. “It should be a deeply political process in the sense that it would be a coming together and amalgamation of public opinion to inform politics. This is precisely what politics is – or at least should be.

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Cowan recently broke with council over other issues, including the city’s approval of the Place Frontenac project. He said the city is without a vision.

Cowan also said he was taken aback by the mayor’s recent statement during an interview with CBC Montreal that a construction freeze currently exists in Pointe-Claire, even though there are construction sites dotting the landscape of the city. town.

“I don’t even understand what he means by that, exactly,” said Cowan, who sits on the city’s demolition committee.

Pointe-Claire also tabled its three-year capital investment program (2022-24) last week, which provides for $25 million in investments next year.

But the Pointe-Claire Heritage Preservation Society was quick to point out that no money has been allocated to repair the damaged windmill that sits on the heritage-protected tip of Pointe-Claire Village. .

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The emblematic windmill, built in 1710, is the civic symbol of Pointe-Claire.

The city lists a sum of $2 million for its possible repair, but it has been postponed beyond 2026.

Belvedere told the Montreal Gazette that the city cannot repair the windmill because it is on property owned by the Catholic Church.

“We’re ready to get the job done as soon as possible, but we don’t have an agreement (with the church),” Belvedere said. “We don’t have to own it, we don’t want to own it, but we need an agreement to have access to it because it’s on private property.”

Belvedere said the funds “can be moved” if the city gets approval to make repairs before 2026.

Andrew Swidzinski, chairman of the heritage society, said waiting at least five years before starting repairs to the windmill was negligence on the part of the city.

“Who knows what shape the windmill will have in five years? It is collapsing now,” he said.

John Belvedere is seeking re-election for his second term as mayor of Pointe-Claire on November 7.
John Belvedere is seeking re-election for his second term as mayor of Pointe-Claire on November 7. Photo by John Mahoney /Montreal Gazette

jmeagher@postmedia.com

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