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Meet Your City Councillors: Behind the Scenes and In Person
Michel Poissant, municipal councillor of Vimont and a resident of the district since 1994, has a unique professional background in that he is the only current councillor with an accounting background. In fact, his 30-year accounting career to date has comprised of managing and coaching businesses to help reach their potential, and he currently holds the title of Vice-President and Chief of Finance of ColbaNet Inc, a telecommunications company. This, of course, is all in addition to the work he performs as city councillor.
Like other councillors who hold full-time careers in addition to their work for the city, Poissant felt that he could contribute to the team through his experience. “The bottom line is that I felt I could help, and even though I had never worked in the public sector before, I felt I could contribute something,” says Poissant, regarding his decision to run in the last election.
Since the election, Poissant has worked on several projects that have aimed at improving everyday life for citizens. One such example is the 2 km anti-noise wall that was constructed last summer along highway 440. “This project was one that was on the table for years before I was elected,” says Poissant. “I worked on this project and we finally got it done.” The $12 million dollar wall was finally constructed through a joint agreement with the City of Laval and the MTQ.
Poissant, a husband and father of two, is also proud of another project he worked on to help improve access to the Vimont train station. For the second winter in a row, a pedestrian pathway that leads up to the station is now on the map for snow removal by the city. “The population that lives around there that takes the train is now able to access it from this path, of which part of it is the bike path in the summer,” explains Poissant. Instead of traditional snow removal trucks, the city has been able to use an adapted pick-up truck to remove the snow in that area.
Poissant is also working on another large project that is currently underway for Bois Vimont, near the hospital. Poissant’s vision is to transform part of this land into an urban forest, which could accommodate a dog park. “We would put proper fencing, ensure that the area is not too close to the homes such as making it in the center of the woods, and put up proper lighting to keep it safe,” explains Poissant. The goal of this project is to make the wooded area more accessible in all seasons, so that residents can walk leisurely through the paths or have a safe area for their dogs to get some exercise.
In another effort to promote greenery in Vimont, Poissant is looking to collaborate with local organizations such as PlanAction Laval to increase the planting of trees on residential streets and properties throughout the district. “My goal is to bring back trees to areas that were damaged by the hurricane in 2013,” says Poissant. “It’s going to be a long-term project, but we have to start somewhere.”
Poissant is known for his implication in various local organizations and non-profits, but also with places such as La résidence Les Marronniers, a high-end retirement home. This past year, Poissant worked with the city to get a bus shelter constructed at the bus stop across the street from the building, something the residents have been wanting for many years.
In the spring and summer, you will likely find Poissant cycling around the district between 6 pm and 8 pm, stopping to chat with passersby and getting to know their requests and needs. If you’re a new resident of Vimont, you will likely hear a knock at your door in the near future—Poissant makes it a point to visit with new residents to the district in person!
Meet Raynald Adams
With over 25 years of experience as a professional translator, Raynald Adams, city councillor for the district of Renaud, has lived in Laval since 2007. Prior to moving to Laval, he lived in various cities in Quebec and Ontario, where he rented apartments. “I always said that I would become a city councillor wherever I buy my first home,” says Adams, and that is exactly what he did! In the summer of 2010, he bought his current home in Renaud, and not very long after, ran in the last election.
Adams also sits on the Executive Committee and is Chairman of Laval’s Advisory Committee on accessibility, culture, seniors, and services for individuals with disabilities. Since his election, Adams has worked on a number of important projects for the city’s development, particularly with regards to the district of Renaud, which is known as the city’s tourist hub.
One of the first citizens’ complaints Adams dealt with was with regards to traffic and noisy car chases on Chomedey Boulevard in the middle of the night. Besides typical city-wide problems, Adams was faced with an unusual challenge: that of determining the city’s touristic identity. “Finding a clear vision of the city’s tourism and touristic development, where it should go, was an issue itself,” says Adams. Adams is also a member of the Tourism Advisory Board of Laval.
Another unique challenge in this district has been the issue of “heat islands”. Heat islands refer to areas in which there is a large amount of concrete, such as the area surrounding Carrefour Laval. The concrete absorbs the heat from the sun and makes the surrounding areas much warmer than other parts of the city. To combat this phenomenon, Adams collaborated on a project which saw hundreds of trees planted last year around Carrefour Laval. Trees and greenery can absorb heat and provide shade, thereby lowering the temperature.
Adams also points to other major projects going on in his district, such as the construction of the Aquatic Complex on Terry Fox Avenue. “The goals are to make the area functional but also to inject a little beauty in the surroundings,” says Adams. The complex is slated to be completed by the summer of 2020, just in time for the Quebec Summer Games, positioning the city for sports tourism as well.
Another major project is the Armand-Frappier Museum’s move to a portion of the Cosmodome’s site, and will be renamed the Bio-Centre Armand-Frappier. This will make the district even more scientifically-cultured, and will help promote scientific and health-related areas of learning for students.
Adams encourages all citizens encountering problems in their area to contact the 3-1-1 service, and if for some reason they do not feel they have all the answers they need, to contact their city counsellor. He/she can guide them to correct department or channels within the municipal government to ensure the issue is addressed promptly.
“I’m proud of the everyday actions I take, and that I can make citizens satisfied…We [city councillors] deal with everyday issues in the direct living environment of our citizens,” says Adams.
Adams feels that citizens should know that their city councillors are there to serve the public’s interests and needs. “We [city councillors] don’t define ourselves as politicians,” he says. “We are just ordinary citizens that got involved…we wanted to see change and ended up being the change we wanted to see.”
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