Park Extension city councillor Mary Deros, who was returned to office in the Nov. election, has been appointed a member of the City of Montreal’s executive committee with responsibility for cultural communities. Deros, who joined Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s administration in 2007 about half-way through its four-year mandate, had been named to the executive committee at that time with the portfolio for families and social and community development.
With her latest appointment, she takes over dossiers that had been the responsibility of former city councillor Marcel Tremblay. “I’ll be working with the various cultural communities in helping them better integrate and better understand and use the available city services,” she told NPEN. Deros said the position involves working with various chambers of commerce in the multicultural and ethnic communities to see how the city can help them develop socially and economically.
“Out of the 28 arteries where we have given money for enhancement, there are only two that come to mind — Petit Maghreb and the Hellenic character of Park Avenue — where we’ll be working with the cultural communities to develop them,” she said. “Anything that has to do with cultural communities, I will be involved and I will facilitate their working relationship with the city.
“When there are cultural festivals, when there is anything that has to do with cultural communities — it could be with social housing, it could be also with regular housing — I will be the bridge between them and the different services, whether it’s economic development or even with the police. Anything that has to do with cultural communities I will be there.”
Hutchison traffic mess
On a different issue, concerning traffic, Deros is becoming concerned about the Jean Talon/Hutchison/Ogilvy area, where pedestrians have been crossing freely for years any which way they like, even though they should be crossing only at the intersections as determined by the traffic and pedestrian lights. “The corner of Ogilvy and Hutchison is a T intersection, and so you have to have a special type of traffic lights to be able to move the traffic and also to have safe pedestrian crossings.”
Deros said pedestrians at the intersection haven’t gotten the message that they’re only allowed to cross when the pedestrian light allows them to, although most cross when the light is green for vehicles. “A lot of people don’t understand or maybe they just don’t pay attention — they see the green light and they think they can cross.” According to Deros, the police spent about three months recently handing out warnings to pedestrians, but later started issuing tickets with fines.
“People were not happy getting the fines,” she said. “A lot of them came to me, especially during the campaign. It wasn’t an easy situation. But when I intervened with the police I was told that it was for their safety, because once they get a ticket they would not do it again. And it’s a fact, because I know that they invested a lot of time talking to people, but somehow it doesn’t sink in. And unfortunately when they do get hit with a fine of $42, I know that it’s not easy. However, it’s a reminder they will remember.”