The stakes are high in Town of Mount-Royal. Heading into the municipal election, your local newspaper challenged the two aspiring mayors to answer four questions in 150 words each, while thinking about fundamental issues for our society of tomorrow, such as the environment, transparency, diversity and inclusion.
In three words, Michelle Setlakwe describes her city as “Green, diverse, safe”. Peter Malouf describes the town as an "Oasis of tranquility, dynamic, looking to the future".
Here is what they told us.
What is your position on the Royalmount development project, particularly on the residential component?
Response from the outgoing counselor, Michelle Setlakwe, leader of party United for TMR - Team Setlakwe.
Today, based on information currently available, we cannot be in favour of the residential component. Many issues still need to be thought through and negotiated. The requested zoning change would alter the identity of our Town as it would affect the industrial sector - essential to our municipal budgetary balance - and significantly increase the population of our Town. We must ensure a thorough analysis is completed in order to evaluate its impact, whether it be on road traffic, infrastructure and services, or the additional municipal administrative responsibility associated with taking on these new residents, etc.
We would pursue consultations with more details and a complete analysis of the pros and cons would also be presented and discussed with residents. In due time, we would hold a referendum to ensure residents get to weigh-in and be part of the decision making process, due to the magnitude of the proposed development.
Response from Peter Malouf, leader of the party Équipe Peter Malouf.
We believe that residential housing cannot coexist with industrial manufacturing. For reasons of traffic, pollution and public health, we oppose residential housing in the industrial Royalmount sector. We recognize the value of revitalizing this sector, however, we do not believe that residential housing should be part of this process.
With professional expertise in urban planning, environment, law, government relations and multiple engineering disciplines, we studied the issues from all angles in depth and listened attentively to opinions and the concerns of families, friends and neighbors.
Quality of life issues for residents are fundamentally incompatible with the 24 / 7 operational needs of industry. Businesses require minimal support from the town. However, studies show that they frequently relocate rather than continuously reduce their industrial operations to accommodate the sensitivities of residents. This exodus would result in major losses in tax revenue and employment in the region.