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Demonstrators concerned over the REM’s proposed eastern link

Click to play video: 'Demonstrators concerned over Montreal’s REM’s proposed eastern link' Demonstrators concerned over Montreal’s REM’s proposed eastern link
WATCH: A group of citizens against the east link of the REM train line are hoping the project is reconsidered. Over 100 demonstrators gathered in Montreal to demand more public consultation for the $10 billion public transit system. Elizabeth Zogalis reports – Nov 20, 2021

A group of citizens against the east link of the REM train line are hoping the project is reconsidered.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered at Parc Pierre-Tétreault in the Mercier-Est borough to demand more public consultation for the $10-billion public transit system.

“We need something that will improve our quality of life,” says Daniel Chartier, Collectif en environnement Mercier-Est vice-president and protest organizer.

“This project is a bad apple. And it’s not a real solution.”

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Chartier says despite ongoing public consultations, the CDPQ, the Caisse de dépôt in charge of the REM, isn’t taking into consideration the real concerns of those living in the eastern parts of the city.

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The REM de L’est will be an above-ground, 25-kilometre track that will link downtown to Pointe-aux-Trembles, much like the tall cement track taking shape in the west island along highway 40.

A seven-kilometre underground route to the Montreal North borough is also in the plans.

“The REM will go through their neighborhoods. And that means they will see it right up next to their houses and their commercial areas and they don’t want that,” says Laurel Thompson, an environmental activist and member of Trainsparence, a citizens’ group against the REM.

The track would run along Notre Dame Street and Sherbrooke Street, two of city’s most congested arteries.

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Residents in the Mercier-East borough are concerned that construction will significantly disrupt traffic and their quality of life.

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“(We’d prefer) something that is on the ground, preferably a tramway and something that is going to be easier for the neighbourhoods to incorporate,” adds Thompson.

Many residents aren’t so sure the REM will even significantly improve access to public transit in the area, as much of the track will run along the same path as the Metro’s green line.

The regional transit authority (ARTM) is expected to release a study on the impacts of an east link in early 2022.

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