Protesters worried about the Eastern REM – Montreal link project


A group of citizens opposed to the eastern link of the REM train line hope that the project will be reconsidered.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered at Pierre-Tétreault Park in the Mercier-Est borough to demand more public consultation for the $ 10 billion public transport system.

“We need something that will improve our quality of life,” says Daniel Chartier, vice-president and organizer of the protest of the Collectif en environnement Mercier-Est.

“This project is a bad apple. And that’s not a real solution.

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Chartier says that despite the ongoing public consultations, the CDPQ, the Caisse de depot in charge of the REM, does not take into consideration the real concerns of residents in the east of the city.

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The Eastern REM will be a 25-kilometer above-ground track that will link downtown to Pointe-aux-Trembles, much like the high cement track that takes shape in the west of the island along highway 40.

A seven-kilometer underground route to the Montréal-Nord borough is also being studied.

“The REM will pass through their neighborhoods. And that means they’ll see it right next to their homes and shopping areas and they don’t want it, ”says Laurel Thompson, environmental activist and member of Trainsparence, a citizens’ group against REM.

The track would run alongside rue Notre-Dame and rue Sherbrooke, two of the city’s most congested arteries.

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The citizens of the Mercier-Est borough fear that the construction will significantly disrupt traffic and their quality of life.

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“(We would prefer) something that is on the ground, preferably a streetcar and something that will be easier to integrate for the neighborhoods,” adds Thompson.

Many citizens are not convinced that the REM will even significantly improve accessibility to public transport in the area, because a large part of the route will follow the same route as the green metro line.

The Regional Transport Authority (ARTM) is expected to publish a study on the impacts of an east link in early 2022.

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