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Ste. Anne de Bellevue

Exit 41: The plot thickens. Only 1 piece of info made public: ‘No emergency repairs required’

  • Section of the one-page summary of the inspection report signed by a Genivar engineer.
    Section of the one-page summary of the inspection report signed by a Genivar engineer.
    Photo credit: Brenda O'Farrell, The Gazette

In separate requests, The Gazette and a few residents of Ste. Anne de Bellevue applied to gain access to the town’s reports that supposedly justified the decision to condemn two overpasses on the north side of westbound Highway 40 at Exit 41 in March 2011.

The town responded by releasing heavily redacted versions of the reports. Authorities at town hall invoked Section 37 of the access-to-information legislation that says a public body, like a municipality, can withhold any opinion it has obtained or commissioned and used to justify a decision or action for up to 10 years.  So, essentially, what the town released were the reports minus the sections that contained a recommendation or an estimate of the cost of any recommended repairs to the infrastructures.

The four documents in question included two inspection reports prepared by the Genivar engineering group – one for each of the two overpasses; and a list of cost estimates for recommended repairs produced in 2009 and a letter to Ste. Anne Mayor Francis Deroo from the town’s engineer, Daniel Doran, dated February 2011 that included his recommendations based on information in the 2009 Genivar reports.

In the end, just about everything of substance was blanked out of the documents – except for one three-word note on the summary sheet of each of the infrastructure inspection reports.

The note was succinctly clear: “N.B.: Aucune intervention d’urgence.”

Sure, repairs to the structures were needed. But the city will not divulge the exact recommendations, their costs or if there was any prescribed timetable to carry out the repairs. The last council that ran the city in 2009 and the city engineer at that time, when the reports were commissioned, presumably looked at the reports and knowing there were no emergency actions required, did not make a big deal about it.

Then, an election rolled around in November of 2009 and Deroo was elected mayor. He made a few changes at city hall. Included in those changes was the hiring in June 2010 of a new engineer, Doran. And a few months later, there was a letter from Doran to Deroo which sparked a vote on council to close the overpasses without having a plan on how to repair them, what repairs were needed or a clue of who would pay and how these repairs would be financed. Doran quit his job later that year. Members of council say, based on the presentation made by Doran, they were lead to believe public security was at risk.

Now, it is more than two years later. The highway exit is still closed. There is still no plan in place to repair or replace the overpasses, and Ste. Anne and Transport Quebec are locked in a stalemate over the issue of who is going to pay to repair or replace them. But one thing has changed. The city has finally released the heavily redacted reports, which, for all intents and purposes, contain only one crucial piece of information: The experts claimed that no emergency repairs were required on those overpasses. Did the city intend to let that little piece of information be made public? Was it an oversight?  Who knows? But that is the only information that is out there now.

And then last Monday rolled around. It was the first public council meeting since the town released the heavily redacted reports. And the one guy who could answer any questions, Mayor Francis Deroo, was not there. He did not show up to the council meeting. And he is not answering any questions.

One resident asked:  “What are you hiding? The truth?”

The whole thing was mishandled from the day the Deroo administration turned its attention to it. Of course, knowing this doesn’t solve anything. But maybe it can clear the way this November for voters to give a new administration a chance to fix things.

Please feel free to add your comments.

Brenda O’Farrell

15 comments

  1. Pingback: Town takes heat for keeping most of reports on condemned overpasses from public | West Island Gazette

  2. By Angry_Citizen

    It shows you how incompetent they are !!! Of all the information they tried to hide, the forgot the 3 words that incriminate them the most …
    Thanks to the citizens who challenged that administration for years about the viaduc issue and thanks to you Brenda for your interest regarding SAB’s pathetic administration.

  3. By Paul Broomfield

    Secrecy breeds corruption.
    Time to replace Deroo with someone willing to be far more transparent (and effective). This 2 year wait was totally unnecessary.

  4. By Oh My God

    So this means that for years the shop keepers of Sainte Anne have been penalized because motorists avoided the detour? How much money did they lose? How many went out of business because of Deroo’s actions (or inaction).
    DEROO MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

  5. By De I`ile

    This is why your bridge is closed ! … Ste. Anne and Transport Quebec are locked in a stalemate over the issue of who is going to pay to repair or replace them. Fact is Ste Anne is on the hook for the bill Totally as per the orignal deal struck back in 1965 ..The town engineer could not sing off on the bridge, personally I dont know anyone that would, as there were shoddy repairs done over time…with no fund set-up as there should of been thus…rendering the bridge a safety issue!
    Oh My God . you want Accountability, here is the list of mayors that failed Everyone !

    J.L. Paquin, 1965–1973
    Alphonse Trudeau, 1973–1978
    Marcel Marleau, 1978–1984
    René Martin, 1984–1994
    Bill Tierney, 1994–2001, 2005–2009

    Needless to say Deroo was left holding the bag ! Wile the former Mayor/Mayors are blowing off at the mouth , wasnt me and anyhow im not ACCOUNTABLE !! you wan re-elect him again !!

    • By DeSte.Anne

      De Ile:
      If there is no guilt or shame, then why did the Mayor refuse to release the report? If there is no issue, why was the report blacked out (redacted).Why does the Mayor not show up at council? Why does the Mayor refuse to answer Brenda O’Farrell?Why did the Mayor hide at the May 28th consultation on the PPU, leaving Bonhomme to take the anger of the citizens alone? Where is the economic analysis the people asked for on the PPU.
      Why should a developer be granted a rezoning change that doesn’t benefit the people. That got Mr. Applebaum in jail! Wake up please. Is this the same type of favour that the restaurant got for the toilet? Why did Deroo spend $300,000 on 1 toilet and demolition costs when we could have had a building with 10 toilets for the same price? Why did the road construction take years and years and cost much more than the budget? Who is going to compensate the Merchants for Deroo’s errors. Are you?

  6. By De I`ile

    DeSte.Anne : In response to you post. do understand that the renovations that were set in place we done by Bill Tierney
    might i suggest you ask him to compensate the Merchants, and do remember he was the one that brought the parking meters to the town, killing all the Merchants sales ..flat out Deroo is dealing with the BS he left behind. get your facts correct before posting BS !

    • By notfallingforit

      @de l’ile So, you are saying that it was the ex mayor (tierney) that made Deroo lie about the overpasses? Please put the kool-aid down.

    • By Fed up in Ste Anne North

      @ De L’Ile: You have been previously corrected on this point. The renovations were not set in place by the Tierney administration. The Phase II contract was awarded in February 2011 (#02-064-11) and Phase III in July 2011 (#07-252-11)

      With respect to the bridge the engineers report stated no urgent intervention was required, so no need to close it. But, please keep trying to defend Deroo! Your arguments are brilliant examples of “bovem stercore”, I compliment you on your skills in this regard.

  7. By DeSte.Anne

    De Ile:
    You don’t have to be rude. I’m posting facts and opinions that are shared with the Ste.Annes Citizen Coalition. What do the parking meters have to do with the PPU or the golden toilet or the fact that the construction took 10 years? What does trying to change zoning in the North to satisfy a developer have to do with parking meters? When a Mayor takes power he must fix the problems of the previous Mayor, not make them worse. Deroo is incompetent as is his DG. A competent team would not blame all the problems in the world on the previous administration. Given Deroo can only whine that it is not his fault then he should NOT RUN FOR OFFICE. We need people who can save our town, not losers who can only complain that it is not their fault. Wah Wah Wah. Do you want me to take out my little violin?

  8. By infosab

    @De I`ile. I think De Ste Anne had some very valid points to make and I don’t see how you answered any of them.

    The fact is that nobody in Ste Anne, except you, wants Deroo, or Lavigne, or Bousasfoly back in power. These people have shown that they can’t manage a city. In fact they probably can’t even manage their own finances. How can you justify what they have done (piss money down the drain) and more importantly what they haven’t done (help rebuild downtown).

    Hey I agree with you that Bill Tierney was a pretty lousy Mayor, but isn’t it possible to hope for something better than something worse? Right now, Francis Deroo has the worst record as a Mayor in the history of Montreal – the city and all the suburbs. Although we all know that Gerry Lavigne is the real Mayor.

  9. @ de L’ile As you mentioned Tierney started the renovation project but you have to look at who executed it. Mr. Tierney was only responsible for a small section in the east of the village. Since his departure the rest was done by the current administration and if you look at the original ideas compared to what we have today you will see the difference immediately. The truth of the matter is Mr. Deroo and Mr. Bonnehomme have been running the show for a while now and there are the ones responsible for not stopping this before it bacame the problem it is. The overpasses, on the other hand, are 100% the fault of Mr. Deroo and that can not be contested. He is the one who closed them permanently.

  10. By infosab

    The bottom line is that Deroo and his gang of yahoos have brought us to the point where the town of Sainte Anne de Bellevue would be much better off under trusteeship. Blaming past Mayors going all the way back to 1965 is not very productive. I hope Deroo realizes now that he is not the man to take us out of this mess. He has created messes on his own and he had made other peoples messes even worse. Time to leave and allow competent and transparent people the opportunity to redress the incredible damage he has done. Most importantly we need people who believe in democracy, not autocrats who bend rules to have developers on our CCU committee – the committee responsible for development – that’s like having Jerry Sandusky babysit your kids.

  11. By Langlois-paquet

    Poor deroo…what a loser mayor he was RIP

    He was supposed to renovate the water tower !!! It has been name the worst looking thing in the westisland !!!

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