More land placed on reserve, train station locations revealed for commuter rail line

Some landowners in Laval and the West Island will soon receive notice that their land is being put on a reserve and could be expropriated for the proposed commuter rail line funded by Quebec's pension fund.

Plans for proposed light rail raise mixed emotions in Laval and parts of West Island

Quebec's pension fund plans to expand on the already built Île Bigras AMT station. (Radio-Canada)

Some landowners in Laval and the West Island will soon receive notice that their land is being put on a reserve and could be expropriated for the proposed commuter rail line funded by Quebec's pension fund.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced in April that it would invest $3 billion in the commuter light rail line, which would use a combination of existing and newly built tracks and stations.

Pierre Voyer, who lives on Île Pariseau, is expecting to receive notice that the land passed from his grandfather to his father and now to him has been placed on reserve.

Placing land on reserve means the owner can't undertake any work or renovations to the property, aside from minor repairs.
Pierre Voyer's property, which ends at the AMT train tracks, is going to be put on reserve for the commuter rail line. (CBC)

"I've been here all my life, but you can't fight governments," he said.

"If the decision is better for the public, what can I do?"

Owning property 'the basis of democratic values'

Luigi Liberatore owns several properties near Highway 13 and plans to open a store, gas station and other shops on the lot expected to be placed on reserve.

While he is in favour of having a light rail project for the city, he is worried about how and where they build it.

​"You know, owning a property is the basis of democratic values. We all work to earn our livings and by doing that, we create economic activity," he said.

"So you have to respect that. Whether you're the government, or someone else, if you want someone else's property, you have to be willing to pay for it."

Not everybody worried

One area slated to have a train station is the part of the St. Laurent borough's industrial district owned by Technoparc.

The company's director of communications Carl Baillargeon, says the company welcomes the idea of a station.

"We're very happy about it. For us, it's a great addition to the Technoparc," he said.

"We count over 90 companies here with over 6,300 employees and the service that we are going to get with the electric train will be a great alternative to the car access or bus access."

A map of the proposed rail line that would connect Montreal's West Island, South Shore and Laval. (Caisse de dépôt et Placement)

Île-Bigras residents welcome rail proposal

For the Laval citizens living on Île-Bigras who rely on public transportation, taking the commuter train from the local station is the only way on and off the island.

So some are welcoming the news that the current AMT station there would be expanded under the proposed project.

In the mid-90s, residents successfully fought the closure of their station which was going to be merged with the nearby Sainte-Dorothée station.

Carole Legault lives just next to the train station. She is in favour of the new line.

"It's good for us, it's good for the people, because a lot of people take the train to go to work," she said.

Andre Zielimski takes the train every day.

"Obviously, as a commuter, it's good news," he said.

"As it is now, the train passes every 20 minutes at rush hour."

The new train would pass every six to 12 minutes.

With files from Shaun Malley and François Cormier