In Pointe-Claire, some residents are upset following the city’s decision to cut down trees in Alexandre Bourgeau Park in order to make way for a new school bus route.
Mayor John Belvedere says a solution for the morning traffic near Marguerite-Bourgeoys elementary school on Ste-Anne Street has been 20 years in the making.
Belvedere argues building a seven-metre-wide bus route in the back of the schoolyard is the safest and most effective way to get the students to school.
“There will be a lot less movement, a lot less chance of a kid running between parked cars and if you go in that area you’re very restricted with what you can do. There is no way of making the roads larger,” he said.
Stéphane Licari, a member of the Heart of Pointe-Claire group, however, says the solution the city has come up with is unacceptable.
“This is going to be a monster road in a park where we said, you know, since when are we building asphalt and cutting trees in parks?” said Licari. “This road is going to be way too close to the lake.”
The city insists in order to pave the way for the new school bus route, trees will need to be cut down. The majority of the trees that will be cut are contaminated ash trees, according to Belvedere.
“Every Ash tree is going to have to be cut down in Pointe-Claire,” he said. “If it wasn’t now, it would be next year.”
Pointe-Claire will also plant more trees in the near future to replace those that were cut, he added.
A bus route through the park will negatively impact how residents and children enjoy the greenspace, according to Licari.
“We love this park, this is a part of our village, which we know is safe for our kids,” he said.
The Heart of Pointe-Claire group members say they will fight to keep their park in tact and to pitch other solutions to resolve the traffic issue at the school.
Belvedere says discussions are currently underway and he’s open to changing the plan if the Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board (CSMB) offers a better solution.