With excerpts from an Article By Charles-Antoine Gagnon, Le Droit (English Translation)
The tunnel project to connect the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge to Highway 417 was a popular topic at the Rideau-Rockcliffe Mayoral Canddate’s Debate. It was attended by three mayoral candidates, including Bruce McConville, Hamid Alakozai and Clive Doucet. Despite requests from the organizers, the incumbent mayor, Jim Watson did not show up for the debate which was attended by over a hundred people.
The 3.4 km tunnel would relieve congestion in the downtown core from the many heavy trucks that flow from Quebec to Ontario and vice versa. Bruce McConville, stated that the fact that the capital of the country does not already have such an infrastructure is “embarrassing for a world capital city”. “It’s a project that has been waiting for a long, very, very long time,” he said.
A lively discussion ensued about the Salvation Army’s 350 bed Mens Mega Shelter proposed for Vanier. This is a seriously unpopular issue in Vanier, Manor Park, Rockcliffe Park and Lindenlea, Many voters expressed concerns about the negative impact the shelter would have on their communities. Bruce McConville spoke at length about the potential impact of drug dealers on the streets and the increased and continued damage to both the Beechwood and Notre Dame Cemeteries caused by homeless people living in them. “It will only get worse if the Mega Shelter gets built,” said McConville.
As a key coordinator for SOS Vanier, the community group which sprung up to protest the site of the proposed Mega Shelter, McConville decided to run for Mayor after witnessing the callous disregard shown to the community by Watson and 16 City Council members who voted for the shelter to be built. “During the council hearing, residents were not even allowed to speak about the negative social impact this project would have on the community. It was gut wrenching to watch and there was no prior public consultation with the Mayor or City Council,” said McConville.