Mayors to keep negotiating recreational services
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.”