CONSULTATION. The first step in the analysis of the tramway project in the capital is taking shape at the Quebec City Convention Center. Throughout the week, the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) will be in listening mode, during this initial phase of presentation.
Indeed, the process must take place in two parts. The first, organized from July 6 to 10, aims to inform BAPE representatives. It gives full space to the initiator of the structuring public transport network (RSTC) project. Resource people are called in to answer questions from the commission and the rare participants.
It is during the second part of the consultation, in the week of August 3, that the commission will collect the public’s opinion and suggestions. “She will then hear any citizen, organization, or group wishing to speak on the project, in the form of a brief or verbal presentation. The modalities of participation relating to this second part of the hearing will be announced later, ”said the BAPE.
To date, 559 people have indicated their intention to comment, 70 of whom wish to submit a question at the hearings. After the consultation, the analysis and writing stages will follow by the fall. The report of the BAPE team, chaired by Corinne Gendron assisted by curators Antoine Morrissette and Pierre Renaud, must be tabled no later than November 5. The Minister of the Environment must then make it public within 15 days.
The commission wishes to focus on several aspects and foundations of the RSTC project to be implemented in 2026 in the streets of Quebec. His analytical work will focus on the following main themes:
- Rationale, traffic and technology used for the project;
- Layout, integration into the transport network and urban development;
- Governance, finance, government policies, regulatory framework and public participation;
- Effects on the natural and human environment during construction and during operation.
Note that due to the pandemic and physical distancing measures, the BAPE committee of inquiry broadcasts the sessions online. Some pre-registered citizens, for a maximum of 50 per session, can attend the process.
Adjustments have already been made to meet the estimated budget of $ 3.3 billion. Notified by the upper levels and main donors that any cost overruns would be at its expense, Quebec City has reviewed certain elements of its project. Thus, the RSTC was recently amputated from its trambus. Replacing them with new express routes will save $ 700M. This sum will be used to offset the explosion in costs of the tunnel portion of the tramway journey to the city center.
In addition, opposition demonstrations have been increasing for some time against this major investment of public funds. Gradually passed from a few dozen to several hundred opponents, these rallies organized by the group Tramway no thanks !, denounce “the scale and improvisation of the project”. In favor of improving public transport, the demonstrators worried about the lack of planning and the difficult coexistence with motorists.
For its part, Living in the City takes advantage of the start of BAPE consultations to reiterate its support for the RSTC, of which the tram will be one of the elements. The organization hopes that “the public hearings will make it possible to improve the project, to make it a veritable backbone of sustainable mobility”.