Work on the Royalmount commercial project in the Town of Mount Royal continues, but it’s also striking deep divisions among political candidates seeking to be mayor, as well as among the town’s residents.
Entrepreneur Peter Malouf opposes any re-zoning to allow a residential project to be built with the commercial one currently under construction.
“Residential does not belong in Royalmount,” Malouf, one of the mayoral candidates, told Global News.
Malouf says the area where Royalmount is being built, in the southeast corner of the Metropolitan and Decarie expressways, is zoned for commercial and industrial use only and that adding a residential component would lead to a tremendous increase in vehicle traffic in an area that is already heavily congested.
His opponent, town councillor Michelle Setlakwe, argues she would put a zoning change to a referendum.
“Residents need to be heard. We have to make a decision with the residents on a project of this magnitude,” she said.
A Leger poll from last July shows a small majority of residents, 51 per cent, oppose adding a residential component to the commercial project.
Almost 22,000 people live in the Town of Mount Royal, with 14,000 of them eligible to vote.
There are other issues on which the two candidates remain divided include the future of a state-of-the-art sports complex and how best to mitigate traffic in the area.
Both candidates contend they are the best person to be the voted as mayor.
“I love my role as an elected official and I’m ready to do it full time as mayor,” Setlakwe said.
“I believe it’s really important that we protect our garden city as it was conceived, it’s just so precious. It’s unique,” Malouf said.
Voters will ultimately decide who will be the next mayor on election day, Nov.7.