Montreal

Plateau borough mayor will vote against Parc Ave. name change

Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal borough mayor, Helen Fotopulos, has relented to public pressure regarding Parc Avenue's name change, and says she'll now vote against the proposal at city hall later in November.

Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal borough mayor, Helen Fotopulos, has relented to public pressure regarding Parc Avenue's name change and says she'll vote against the proposal at city hall later in November.

Three other councillors in the district will follow Fotopulos's lead and vote against mayor Gérald Tremblay's proposal to rename Parc Avenue in honour of former Quebec premier Robert Bourassa.

The about-face follows what Fotopulos calls some soul-searching over the last two weeks, ever since Tremblay brought up the name change.

"Despite my initial endorsement for the change of name of Parc Avenue, I have looked deep into what the implications are, and I've had to withdraw my support," she told CBC.

Hundreds of residents in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough took to the streets in mid-October to protest the city's plan for Parc Avenue. At least 15,000 people have signed an online petition, and Fotopulos said she's received more than 500 e-mails at her office.

She said she didn't realize the visceral connection between local residents and Parc Avenue.

"We misread the situation. I misread the situation," she told CBC.

Fotopulos's change of heart is being welcomed by Parc Avenue's Merchants Association, but local business owners say there's nothing to celebrate — yet.

They say they still have to persuade other city councillors to vote against the proposal. Local merchants would like to see the City of Montreal drop the idea altogether, the association said.

There's no chance that will happen because the planis a good idea and those who don't like it are blowing the situation out of proportion, Tremblay said Wednesday.

"Everyone is talking about this issue. It's like it would be the end of the world if something happens. We're not going to end the world. We're continuing to manage the city. It's not an issue that's going to change the future of Montreal.

"People are pushing for this, as though it was something that was dividing our caucus, dividing city council. I think it's democracy at its best."

Montreal city council will vote on the name change Nov. 27.