Kirkland mayor fears lack of negotiations could hinder parking at future REM station

WATCH: Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson is speaking out about the potential lack of parking at the future Kirkland REM station. Tim Sargent has more.

Work crews are busy building the future Kirkland train station that will be part of the light rail electrical train network known as the REM (Réseau express métropolitain).

The station and the entire network is supposed to be finished by 2023, but there is a growing concern that a lack of parking could become a problem for future train users.

Kirkland mayor Michel Gibson tells Global News that officials overseeing the REM haven’t started any talks with the owners of a nearby shopping centre owned by RioCan.

Negotiations were supposed to have started months ago to secure parking spots.

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“There’s no communication yet concerning just the parking situation,” Gibson said.

Officials running the REM removed 500 spots planned for the Kirkland station last spring, and also removed 1,500 parking spaces for a future station in Pointe-Claire.

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

In both cases, the train authorities said they were going to negotiate with owners of adjacent shopping centres to secure spots.

But according to Gibson, that hasn’t happened.

“Nothing has been said and it’s important because we’ll need some parking spaces there,” he said.

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The lack of parking at the Kirkland station means many commuters may turn to street parking in residential neighbourhoods.

“They’re going to park all over the streets which is inconvenient for us,” Marisa Digiandomenico, a Kirkland resident, told Global News.

READ MORE: With parking spots lacking for REM stations, West Islanders hope for a change

The Kirkland station is very close to a residential area packed with single family homes, where streets could quickly fill if no parking is available.

“I mean, you build something, you have to have parking in order for people to park properly,” said Zak Mohammed, a Pointe-Claire resident.

In a statement to Global News, Harout Chitilian, the executive director of CDPQInfra, the organization overseeing the REM, writes:

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“In regards to the availability of parking on the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue branch, we have already secured 700 parking spots and we are currently working to identify, analyze and eventually add other parking spots.”

But those spots are at future stations in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and Sources Boulevard, not the Kirkland or Pointe-Claire stations.

Gibson says he’s now requesting the local MNA to pressure REM officials to start negotiations with RioCan to secure parking spaces at the future station in Kirkland.

WATCH: (March 14, 2019) REM stations in West Island won’t have as many parking spots

REM stations in West Island won’t have as many parking spots
REM stations in West Island won’t have as many parking spots
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