April 29, 2019 9:30 pm

REM light rail open house draws a large crowd in Pointe-Claire

REM light rail open house in Pointe-Claire. Monday April 29, 2019

Global News/Karol Dahl

Hundreds of residents packed into the Holiday Inn Pointe-Claire Monday night for an open house about the REM light rail project.

The $6.3 billion project is slated to be finished by the year 2023, but work on the 26-station plan has already begun.

“We started construction a year ago, and so we want to give people a chance to see what we have done so far, and ask questions,” said REM spokesperson, Jean-Vincent Lacroix.

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READ MORE: Pointe-Claire mayor voices concerns as REM to eliminate thousands of parking spots

Those who attended the open question-and-answer session got to see a virtual mock-up of the cars.

Trains will leave the Pointe-Claire station every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes outside of busier hours.

“I’ve learned a tonne and am quite excited. It will be closest we get to having a metro on the West Island,” said longtime resident Timothy Thomas.

WATCH: REM stations in West Island won’t have as many parking spots (March 14)

Excitement for the project, however, is somewhat tempered by concerns over parking.

“West Island residents use their cars because there isn’t enough public transit, so consequently they have to use their cars to get to public transit,” said Thomas.

“That’s the irony of it.”

READ MORE: West Island mayors, residents worried about lack of parking at REM stations

REM originally proposed 1,500 parking spaces at the Pointe-Claire station in 2016, but earlier this year, organizers announced that number would be significantly reduced.

REM spokesperson Jean-Vincent Lacroix says the organization is still in discussions to find a balance between parking spaces and access for cyclists, pedestrians and other means of public transit.

“People need options and while we are building the REM, we are trying to see how we can build stations that offer unique methods of access that residents currently don’t have,” said Lacroix.

The next open house for the REM project will be held in the Town of Mount-Royal in May.

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