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"An elected municipal official against this project is an elected official against his citizens" - Guy Pilon

durée 12h34
7 février 2024
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Jessica Brisson
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Par Jessica Brisson, Éditrice adjointe

"I was the one who initiated the process, and now I'm happy, because my colleagues are taking over," said Vaudreuil-Dorion mayor Guy Pilon, when asked about his position on the study of a restructuring of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC.

To read also:

MRC division: "We are at a crossroads"

On January 29, Néomédia reported exclusively that some towns in the MRC had taken steps to analyze the possibility of dividing the MRC according to whether or not it joined the CMM (Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal).

Comprising 23 towns, the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC includes 11 towns in the CMM. These are L'Île-Perrot, Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot, Pincourt, Terrasse-Vaudreuil, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac, L'Île-Cadieux, Pointe-des-Cascades, Les Cèdres, Hudson and Saint-Lazare.

"These towns pay several hundred thousand dollars for services that are doubled at the MRC. So towns like Vaudreuil-Dorion, Saint-Lazare, or one of the towns on Île Perrot are paying a substantial fee to CMM and the MRC for services to be rendered in other towns that aren't ours," explained Mr. Pilon, questioned by independent councillor Karine Lechasseur. 

"We're currently at the reflection stage. We're looking at what savings can be made. A lawyer has been appointed and we're going to bring together all the municipal councils of the CMM cities, the mayors and general managers, to discuss the matter. Then each municipality will have to decide whether or not to continue with the process," explained the mayor.Double payment for services

According to Guy Pilon, grouping the cities included in the CMM would ultimately save millions of dollars.By law, the cities included in the CMM are obliged to contribute to the CMM for eight competencies: planning, economic development, artistic and cultural development, social housing, metropolitan facilities, public transit, waste management and the environment. 

On the other hand, MRC towns are required by law to pay quotas for the following competencies: development, management of watercourses and water environments, assessment roles, waste management and elaboration of the risk coverage plan. 

In addition to these mandatory responsibilities, all towns in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC pay for economic development, artistic and cultural development and social housing.The addition of these competencies to the towns' bills is the result of a political choice to help smaller municipalities take advantage of these services.

In the end, the 11 towns included in the CMM pay twice for six competencies. "This is illogical. In my opinion, there isn't a single elected municipal official in the CMM who can be against it. Why should we pay twice? You (the citizens) can see it on your tax bills. You pay part to the CMM and part to the MRC...Why are we paying the MRC for a geomatics service when we have our own department, in addition to paying the CMM? Why are we paying the MRC for culture and communications? Right now, we're paying nearly 27% of the MRC's bill to enable other towns to afford these services. What's worse is that when it comes time to vote, CMM towns are in the minority..." added Mr. Pilon.

Conversely, Guy Pilon deplores the fact that non-CMM cities can take advantage of certain services financed, in part, by CMM municipalities, without having to pay. "Take transportation, for example.At the moment, CMM towns pay for the train, metro and buses, while the rest of the MRC does not. We've been fighting for years to get non-CMM cities to pay their share.As a representative of the CMM, how do you expect me to tell the other mayors of the MRC that they should pay their share of transportation costs?" adds the mayor.

Undecided councillors

For her part, independent councillor Karine Lechasseur was rather ambiguous on the issue. "I'd like to say that there's no unanimity here around the table.I haven't yet confirmed my agreement with the idea.I think it's a drastic solution to a management problem that hasn't been tackled for a long time, or is difficult to solve because of the RCM's democratic structure.There's one element to consider, and that's the regional vision and belonging to a whole," she says. "The question to be asked is how we can organize our flutes so that we don't duplicate. I think the idea came to us at the board table as if it were definitive, but have other solutions been brought forward?", she questioned.

For her part, Jasmine Sharma said she was reassured to know that discussions would be held with all elected representatives and general managers. "I'm happy to see that a concerted approach will be taken.I hope people will be open to seeing what can be done.As a councillor, I hope there will be meetings where everyone will be invited and not just individual municipalities."

"Honestly, any elected municipal official who is against the project is against his citizens.It's as simple as that. It's a question of mathematics...", says Guy Pilon.

Finally, asked if a "divorce" from the CMM could be envisaged, the mayor is unequivocal: "That's what every city would like, but it's impossible, it's the law. Believe me, there isn't a town in the MRC's crowns that has chosen to be there".

As for the CMM, in an e-mail sent to Néomédia, it indicated that it preferred to follow the evolution of the file before commenting. 

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