Anyone who has been following this since 2007 knows Turcot is a disaster waiting to happen, but the fight ain’t over, folks!
Turcot foes vow to fight
By James Mennie, Montreal Gazette
Saying that something has to be done to counter the provincial government’s “greenwashing” of its $3-billion renovation of the Turcot Interchange, a coalition of groups opposed to the project says it will embark on a series of protests that will include a visit to the National Assembly.
“(The project) looks like a compromise,” said Shannon Frenssen of Mobilisation Turcot, a coalition of community and environmental groups formed in the wake of the government’s announcement it would rebuild the crumbling interchange. “It’s not a compromise at all. There is very little change in the project (since it was unveiled) in 2007.
“Our objective over the next few weeks is to get information out there about what this project is all about and what the massive impact is going to be for Montreal.”
Frenssen said Transport Quebec had funded a “greenwashing” campaign to make the Turcot appear environmentally friendly, but noted that in real terms, the promotion of public transit did not extend beyond the limits of the construction project.
“No one’s questioning that there are parts of the Turcot that absolutely do need to be rebuilt, and quickly,” she said. “But the bus lane is absolutely nominal. The bus lane is three kilometres through the Turcot Interchange. Those buses will be in traffic before that lane and they’ll be in traffic after that lane.
“There will hardly be any improvement.”
The project drawing the ire of the coalition was unveiled last November by Quebec Transport Minister Sam Hamad, who described the renovation, which is scheduled to begin next year and end in 2018, as “the best plan possible.”
The project’s $3-billion price tag – double the amount cited in 2007 – raised eyebrows. But the real controversy was the decision to maintain Turcot’s traffic capacity, about 350,000 vehicles a day. Critics slammed the plan as flying in the face of the Charest government’s claims it intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province.
While the city of Montreal, which had seen its alternative plan for the Turcot quickly dismissed by the province, did not oppose the Quebec version of the project, its endorsement was at best lukewarm. Mayor Gérald Tremblay acknowledged that while the city did not get the version it wanted, the renovation was, at bottom, a matter of provincial jurisdiction.
Officials speaking for Hamad’s office have repeatedly maintained that the version announced by the minister is essentially the version that will be built.
But groups like Mobilisation Turcot contend that even with lanes reserved for public transit, the project will add to air and noise pollution.
On Tuesday, the group said it had obtained the support of more than 40 groups and organizations for its cause, including Parti Québécois transport critic Nicolas Girard, Québec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir, Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel, Projet Montréal leader Richard Bergeron (who left the city’s executive committee over the Turcot plan) and local borough mayor Benoit Dorais.
Frenssen said her group planned to take their message to the National Assembly next month and hoped to mobilize public support during a protest march that would coincide with World Environment Day on June 5.