On May 29th, 2018, the Board of Directors of the MRMA met with Mme Isabelle Lachance, Community Relations Advisor, who is part of a team of four representatives of a subsidiary of the Caisse de Dépôt, the government controlled entity, in charge of the planned fast rail service known as the REM to discuss a possible joint public meeting with the MRMA. There is a possibility of a joint public information meeting in the autumn by which time the definitive plans would be better known. Until then, the project office for the REM and NouvLR, the consortium responsible for the REM construction, is inviting residents who live near the future worksites to an information meeting on June 19, 2018 at Mount Royal Town Hall.
During our meeting, Mme Lachance informed the committee that a construction contract had been signed on April 12, 2018 with NouvLR, which would serve as contractor and general manager responsible for actual construction of the project which, she explained would be as big as the entire Montreal Metro System. NouvLR is composed of a consortium of well- known, established major general contractors such as Pomerleau, SNC Lavalin, Dragados, etc. The actual rolling stock would be manufactured and supplies by Alstom, a French company. CDPQ Infra would co-ordinate and direct the project as a whole and be vested with ultimate decision making authority.
The details of what is intended provided by Mme Lachance were as follows.
- There would be a station built in TMR but the design of the new station has not been finalized.
- CDPQ Infra representatives have been in regular contact with Town Council.
- There would be transportation dues on all new construction, development or renovation of $756,150 or more on buildings within one km of the rail line. These buildings must also have a floor area of 186 m2 and over.
- Noise issues, if any, would be dealt with in due time. The new trains are smaller than the existing one and make less noise. She explained that CDPQ Infra can resort to different mitigation measures to address any noise issues.
- There will be a station between Portal heights and central Station around where University of Montreal is (at the corner Vincent D’Indy and Édouard-Montpetit) which would absorb some traffic which might otherwise be attracted to the T.M.R. station. A new REM station will also be built at McGill.
- Measures to ensure security of pedestrians would be taken in the form of signalization and other measures.
- The project would take four years to complete and should be ready for 2022-2023. One line of the existing train service would be closed, alternately, on June 26, 2018 and remain closed until June 2020 at which time the entire existing service from Gare Centrale to Du Ruisseau would be shut down for two years to allow for construction.
- Tariff would be decided by the ARTM.
- Trains will operate 20 hours per day once the system gets underway. Of course, trains would pass much more frequently and less on weekends.
- Much of the planning and design remains to be done and she was unable to answer many of the questions posed asking for detail.
- Mme Lachance envisaged a public information meeting in the Autumn by which time the definitive plans would be better known.