Town of Mount Royal presents plan to bury 1.8 km of REM line underground
Plan comes after a year and a half of lobbying regarding CDPQ Infra's plan for the train
The Town of Mount Royal is asking the province to force the Caisse de dépôt to change its plans for the Réseau express métropolitain light-rail train system.
Mayor Philippe Roy says he wants 1.8 kilometres of the train line buried underground. An estimated 550 trains will pass through TMR every weekday, and hundreds still on weekends, according to the current plans by CDPQ Infra.
The town's plan comes after a year and a half of lobbying by Roy and citizens regarding plans for the REM.
At least two of the train lines will run through TMR, resulting in one train passing nearly every two minutes.
CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of the public pension fund manager, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, is helming the project.
Roy said he believes the cost of burying the lines would be mitigated by the fact that the Caisse de dépôt could rent the land above the tracks.
"Sustainable development is about more than just implementing an electrified above-ground metro service with high train frequency," said Roy.
"It is also important to think about urban development for current and future generations. In this regard, the current REM project misses the mark."
Land could become green space, town says
The town proposes using the land above the trains to create a multipurpose green space with an improved public square.
It also paid around $20,000 to create its own plan to present as an alternative to running trains above ground.
In a statement, CDPQ Infra said it will continue working with the municipality, its residents, and all the communities that will be served by the REM.
"We reiterate our commitment to deliver a project that will respect time and budgetary constraints while assuring its exemplary integration in all communities of the the network," the statement reads.
It did not comment on whether it would consider the Town of Mount Royal's plan.
Expected to be completed in 2024, the $6.3-billion REM will have 26 stations along a 67-kilometre track and run 20 hours a day. It will connect downtown, the West Island and the North and South shores.
With files from Kate McKenna