Everyone has his or her own wish list for the year. But it’s even more important in an election year to know what change you want to see in your community. What do you want to see your fall 2013 municipal candidates commit to?
I thought you might like to use my wish list as an example. Remember: Wishes don’t have to be particularly realistic. In fact, wishes often aren’t. Your objective is to get politicians to make promises, especially if they’ll be difficult to keep. Don’t let them get away with just promising “transparency;” you can see right through that. They’ll do anything to get elected, so get ahead of them with your own list. Here’s mine.
I have a few wishes for Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, then for the West Island.
I wish for a Ste-Anne main street that is finally fixed up, with the hydro cables all buried, with its $700,000 town hall facelift, and its $250,000 fully automated sustainable boardwalk toilet and at least 35 thriving businesses run by a team of young entrepreneurs clamouring at monthly town meetings for more parking spaces to accommodate the thousands of clients, old and new, who will thunder into the town in 2013 to enjoy its new sparkle.
I wish for all the overpasses on Highway 40 in Ste-Anne to be fixed so that drivers can finally get home and to work. I also wish for the major north-south boulevard to be built to relieve the congestion in Kirkland, Ste-Anne and Pierrefonds. This, however, should not be used as an excuse for building so many houses that the natural environment of that wonderful stretch of the island is completely overwhelmed by traffic.
When the veterans’ hospital is transferred to provincial jurisdiction in March, I wish for zero loss of revenue for Ste-Anne and a major boost in our medical capacity. If, by some oversight during the negotiations between the feds and the province, Ste-Anne does lose the $2-million difference between taxes normally paid by the two levels of governments, I wish that Ste-Anne be annexed by bilingual Kirkland and not by unilingual Ste-Geneviève–Île Bizard. This was tried for four years in the mega-Montreal fiasco and it was a hopeless flop.
As Vaudreuil-Dorion continues to grow at the rate of 3,000 residents a year (almost an extra Baie-d’Urfé every year), I wish for sound barriers along Highway 20, one kilometre in Ste-Anne and a whole lot more in Beaconsfield. The battle of the barriers in Beaconsfield has been going on long enough. Those poor citizens living along roaring Highway 20 should be hidden behind a giant barrier. And no messing around with vegetable solutions.
I wish for the water tower in Ste-Anne to be covered in climbing and flowering hydrangeas and converted into artists’ lofts, seven of them, and for the ground floor to be an exhibition space.
I wish for an extension to the Ste-Anne library, which would be compared by journalists to Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, northern Spain. (I would accept a comparison with Dorval’s library.)
I wish for a PPU (a specific zoning plan) in the northern part of Ste-Anne that responds to the expectations and aspirations of the local residents. This is highly problematic, but unlike many of my other wishes, there is no cost for compromise and good sense. It’s something people can do for nothing.
Now, in case you think I am being a bit optimistic, even a bit of a dreamer, just remember the success stories of 2012. Who would have thought the Parti Québécois would be in a minority? Who would have thought Highway 30 would open on time and on budget? Who would have thought that John Abbott would have been able to build one of the major educational buildings in modern Quebec? And that the college would have had the genius to name it after Anne-Marie Edwards, the young JAC-graduate engineering student killed in the 1989 Polytechnique massacre?
Anything is possible.
Bill Tierney is the former mayor of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. firstname.lastname@example.org