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14 April 2021

It Is a Wonder Why the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Area Has Been Left Out in the REM Extension Project

Plans are underway for the extension of the light rail transit (LRT) system in Montreal that will cost CAD 10-billion, contribute about $6.3 billion to the GDP of Quebec and create 60,000 jobs during its six-year construction timeline. The Reseau express metropolitain (REM) de l’Est will add 36 kilometers of elevated tracks and 23 new stations. The REM will run from downtown Montreal and will split into two distinct lines that will connect with different boroughs in the east and northeast.

The REM extension project will cross approximately 27 square feet of vacant land close to the Saint Lawrence River and will join the existing 67-kilometer REM network that is now under construction. This will make the biggest driverless systems in the whole of the Americas and one of the biggest in the world.

The planned REM light-rail system project is an exciting development for West Island. Although plans are in place to replace the old Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge, there seem to be no plans for an eventual extension of the REM projects from the planned Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue terminus to Vaudreuil-Dorion. One major concern for residents is the exclusion of the neighboring Vaudreuil-Soulanges area from the REM project.

Although Montreal wants to restrict further development at the boundaries of the metropolis, they cannot simply ignore the growing population that is already in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region. They are already on track to get a new bridge and a hospital and extending the REM should also be in their cards.

Off-island ridership can easily swamp the small parking that is allocated at the REM station expected to be built close to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. If Off-Islanders are unable to park and ride from the West Island, an alternative will be worse. This is because congestion will worsen in the fast-growing Vaudreuil-Soulanges region and from every other point.

Vaudreuil-Soulanges region has grown tremendously in the last few years. Many employers are setting up businesses in the region and thousands of new jobs will be created with the upcoming 400-bed hospital in the Vaudreuil-Dorion. If the REM extends close to the new hospital, it would be perfect to help reduce inevitable traffic from visitors, day patients, and hospital workers.

Off-Islanders are beginning to make noise about REM extension to the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region and they are using social media to rally support and get the attention they need for an eventual extension of the transit line to the region. The REM extension will provide a more frequent and faster service that would make it possible for many Off-Islanders to leave their vehicles on the other side of the bridge. It is still a wonder why the flourishing Vaudreuil-Soulanges region with 23 municipalities has been excluded from the REM project.