May­ors to keep ne­go­ti­at­ing recre­ational ser­vices

Montreal Gazette - - CITY - CHRISTO­PHER CURTIS ccur­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/titocur­tis

As ne­go­ti­a­tions over ac­cess to mu­nic­i­pal swim­ming pools and hockey rinks in the Town of Mount Royal drag on, the res­i­dents of Glen­mount are keep­ing their pow­der dry. For now. This week, res­i­dents of the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Damede-Grâce neigh­bour­hood threat­ened to se­cede from the bor­ough and join T.M.R. if they can’t ac­cess the neigh­bour­ing city’s recre­ational ser­vices at a fair price. But a meet­ing Thurs­day be­tween C.D.N.-N.D.G. Mayor Sue Mont­gomery and T.M.R. Mayor Philippe Roy seems to have set­tled things down. “(Mont­gomery) ac­cepted to sit back at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble and I’m hop­ing it’s in good faith,” said Guil­laume Tardif, who sits on the board of the Glen­mount Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion. “It’s a sim­ple ser­vices deal that’s been re­newed for gen­er­a­tions be­cause it’s based on the geo­graphic re­al­ity of our neigh­bour­hood.” Though Glen­mount is a part of C.D.N.-N.D.G., it is ef­fec­tively fenced off from the bor­ough by train tracks along Jean-Talon St. For decades, the bor­ough has paid T.M.R. a sub­sidy that would al­low Glen­mount’s 1,800 res­i­dents to use the city’s li­braries, are­nas and swim­ming pools.

It’s a sim­ple ser­vices deal that’s been re­newed for gen­er­a­tions be­cause it’s based on the geo­graphic re­al­ity of our neigh­bour­hood.

Mont­gomery says those mea­sures cost $150,000 last year. Her ad­min­is­tra­tion has of­fered to pay $20,000 to T.M.R. this year. Roy wants $60,000 to main­tain the cur­rent level of ser­vices. “Why is this tak­ing so long, they’re only $40,000 apart on an is­sue that af­fects qual­ity of life in the bor­ough,” said Lionel Perez, the city coun­cil­lor for Dar­ling­ton dis­trict in C.D.N.-N.D.G., which in­cludes Glen­mount. “Why haven’t we moved past this?” Mont­gomery con­tends that the bor­ough al­ready pays for Glen­mount res­i­dents to ac­cess C.D.N.N.D.G. fa­cil­i­ties while sub­si­diz­ing their use of T.M.R.’s. So it spends $214 per Glen­mount res­i­dent each year but only $128 on the rest of its cit­i­zens. Tardif said that ar­gu­ment is disin­gen­u­ous. “(Mont­gomery) is turn­ing this into an ide­o­log­i­cal is­sue,” he said. “The deal is ac­tu­ally $70 per res­i­dent. She’s adding that $70 to the $128 that Côte-des-Neiges res­i­dents get. “We don’t use the (C.D.N.-N.D.G.) ser­vices, I haven’t found one per­son who wants to walk three kilo­me­tres to go to the li­brary when they can just walk down the street to get there.” Glen­mount was briefly part of the T.M.R. bor­ough af­ter the 2002 mu­nic­i­pal merger but was re­turned to C.D.N.-N.D.G. dur­ing the de­merger four years later. Tardif said the threat to break off from the bor­ough isn’t an empty one and that, if things fall apart, his group will take the le­gal steps re­quired to do it. In a state­ment fol­low­ing her meet­ing with Mayor Roy, Mayor Mont­gomery said the Glen­mount ar­range­ment isn’t fea­si­ble. “While I fully un­der­stand Glen­mount res­i­dents’ affin­ity with and prox­im­ity to T.M.R., I have to con­sider what is fair for all res­i­dents of C.D.N.-N.D.G.,” Mont­gomery said. “And I am con­fi­dent we can find a so­lu­tion that is favourable to all.”

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