Just between us

Do you still doubt we have no political clout?

West Islanders have long felt that we have no clout with the Quebec government. It doesn’t matter which party is in power.

Unlikely to ever consider supporting separatism, the Parti Quebecois wrote us off decades ago. And due to our unwavering federalist leanings, the Quebec Liberals have taken us for granted.  The result is that our predictability and an accompanying lack of voting options have limited our prospects of ever being a priority with lawmakers in the provincial capital. Ask anyone who has followed the Train de l’Ouest dossier. How can a commuter line that serves the western half of the island of Montreal be such a hard sell? It can’t garner enough support to beat out a metro line to Laval.

But there might be doubters out there. Some West Islanders might still hang on to the dream that we count in Quebec City. They should just stop it. Because now we have a monument that illustrates just how cloutless we are. Drive west on Highway 40 and look to your right when you hit Ste. Anne de Bellevue. The condemned overpasses at Exit 41, closed for more than two years – more than two years – say it all.

The structures – crumbling and graffiti-marked – stand abandoned and damaged by Transport Quebec crews that have been doing preparatory  work along Highway 40, which will see resurfacing work begin later this year. Up until last week, Transport Quebec was looking at replacing the overpasses with a roundabout. That was the recommendation made by an engineering report it had commissioned. But that option has been put on hold. According to the latest information from the mayor of Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Transport Quebec is now considering replacing the structures with a T-style intersection with stop signs.

So more than two years have gone by and all we have to show for it is an engineer report that is being ignored. Nowhere is a sense of urgency that something actually be done to restore highway access to residents of this part of the island, not to mention people living in Ile Perrot.

I drive by this exit almost every day. If you want to be reminded just how stripped of any political clout, you should drive by, too.

Feel free to add your comments.

Brenda O’Farrell 


  1. By Greg Rajewski

    Hi Brenda!

    When I saw your “teaser” line on the front page of the WI Gazette paper edition today about how “we now have a monument to how cloutless we are,” my first guess was the abandoned Ste Anne’s overpasses … Sadly, I was right.

    In 2012, I called it a “monument to bureaucracy” when I organized the petition … and you now call it a monument to cloutless West Islanders. Either one works for me because we’re both right.

    Ultimately, the Sortie 41 “BARREE” sign speaks volumes about where the negotiations between Ste Anne de Bellevue and the ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) now stand: A true impasse!

    As recently as April 9, the Gazette’s Albert Kramberger reported from the last Ste Anne council meeting that not much has changed. According to the town’s mayor, Francis Deroo, “What we are trying to do is negotiate with the MTQ to find a solution for that (T interchange) … I always said Ste-Anne shouldn’t pay for that overpass at that intersection.”*

    Given that statement, I am confident that Ste Anne will NOT do ANYTHING about Exit 41 until the provincial government coughs up a significant share of the money which translates to a wait of possibly another 2 years … at least!!

    So perhaps the time has come for the MTQ to seriously consider a high-speed link from highways 40 to 20 across the McDonald College farmland which would completely bypass Boulevard des Anciens Combattants and its multiple traffic lights which already impede the flow of highway-to-highway traffic. Building such a link would at the same time make paying for the work entirely the MTQ’s responsibility and get it out of the stalemate with Ste Anne’s town representatives.

    Perhaps the time has come for me to organize another petition?

    * http://westislandgazette.com/news/story/2013/04/09/ste-anne-considers-new-option-to-replace-highway-40-overpasses/

    • By Notfallingforit

      2 years of negotiating and nothing to show for it but a maybe on a T intersection. Maybe wee won’t have to wait another 2 years because municipal elections are in November.

  2. Unfortunately the Anglos of QC are too complacent to do anything to fight back. They still line up at the Loto QC kiosk at Fairview and keep feeding our racist government with additional funds with which to support the OQLF.

    In any event who cares. In six months I suspect that will be living in Ottawa and paying $0.25/lt less in gas as there is no OQLF in ON, to waste $$$ on.

    • By Notfallingforit

      I don’t always go to Sainte Anne Council meetings but I always get the rundown from neighbors who have. I can tell you that petition you link to has some big mistakes. Especiallyy where it says:
      CONSIDÉRANT QU’une des solutions qui serait le plus envisageable est la démolition des viaducs pour construire un carrefour giratoire qui serait nettement moins coûteux que de refaire les deux viaducs ;

      CONSIDÉRANT QUE le coût pour la reconstruction des deux viaducs serait d’environ 5 millions de dollars plutôt qu’un peu plus de 2,6 millions de dollars pour la construction d’un carrefour giratoire

      They do not know how much it would cost to fix the viaducs or they will not tell anyone. The mayor said 2 years ago that it would cost $500,000 but they have not done any estimates since then. At the April meeting they said it would cost $6million for the carefour giratoire and that is why it won’t happen. So the petition is wrong. It’s the other way around. If this council has $250,000 for a toilet, why can’t they find $500,000 to fix the viaducs? As to the $2.6 million, in the petition, there was never any mention of that number. Where is the petition’s author getting his info cause it’s wrong.

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