Montreal mayor GÃ©rald Tremblay is hoping to "turn the page" on the acrimonious debate over renaming Parc Avenue even as opponents vow to pursue their fight against the plan.
City council overwhelmingly endorsed the name change Tuesday 40-22, which means that Parc Avenue and Bleury Street will become Robert Bourassa Avenue in honour of the late Liberal Quebec premier.
The vote was unusual because Tremblay had instructed councillors to vote according to their beliefs and not municipal party lines, as is customary in Montreal.The result was enough to satisfy the mayor that democracy was served.
"The fact that some of our city councillors voted against the recommendation of the executive committee proves without a doubt that it was eminently a democratic debate. They had the choice— they consulted the citizens and as a result of that they voted according to the feedback they got from their citizens," he said Tuesday.
The council's support for the name change angered many merchants along Parc Avenue, especially those who have named their business after the street.
"It's only been six months we're here. It's very bad, bad news," said FrÃ©dÃ©ric Mougeot, owner of Le Parc des Princes bistro.
A coalition of residents and merchants vows to fight the name change, even though council has passed the motion. The plan still needs to be approved by Quebec's Toponymy Commission, and opponents said they plan to bombard the office with letters.
The Commission is expected to make a final decision in mid-January.