West end Montreal mayors challenge city’s $175M compost plant project

WATCH: Composting Questions at Montreal City Hall

Demerged mayors are calling on the city of Montreal to rethink plans for a $175-million organic waste treatment centre on the island of Montreal.

“It is the second biggest contract to be given at the city of Montreal [and] that is why we are asking for them to suspend it until we have more time to consider it,” said Beny Masella, president of the Association of Suburban Municipalities.

The original cost was pegged at $46 million. Then the price went up to $58 million. Now the cost is sitting at an estimated total of $175 million.

“$175 million is not small potatoes,” said St. Laurent borough mayor, Alan DeSousa.

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DeSousa agrees with the demerged mayors that increased costs should trigger a re-evaluation of the project.

“For something of this importance, there needs to be more scrutiny,” said DeSousa.

The executive committee member in charge of the file, Jean-François Parenteau, told reporters Monday that after nearly a decade of analyzing, the project at $175 million is the best price for Montrealers.

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“The original evaluation was too low, but now that we know the costs, we think it is a good amount for this kind of project,” said Parenteau.

The city has offered to go over the file with the concerned mayors, but only an hour before Thursday’s agglomeration vote.

“A decision is being made and we aren’t invited. It is very disrespectful,” said Baie-d’Urfé mayor, Maria Tutino.

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Tutino points to the city of Longueuil’s recent decision to ship its waste to Varennes, Que., instead of taking part in the costly venture. saying the centre city should also take a moment and rethink its plans.

The mayors of 15 demerged cities don’t have enough power to stop the project or slow it down, so the meeting on Thursday is a formality.

The St. Laurent treatment centre is the first of five organic waste treatment facilities that are set to be built on the island of Montreal.

The plant was supposed to be completed and opened in 2018 but the date has been delayed to 2021.