The Ellerdale Problem

2016-09-07

Ever since Hampstead demerged in 2006 and I was elected Mayor, we have spent millions on repairing our long neglected infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, water mains and sewers). Much of the money was covered by grants. As a result, all the worst water mains have been relined. Overall, our roads, sidewalks and sewers are also in very good to excellent shape with one glaring exception – Ellerdale. This is, by far, the worst road in Hampstead and we want to repave the entire road. However, there is a problem.

Running under Ellerdale is a major 30” diameter main which supplies most of Hampstead’s water. The water main has probably never been maintained since it was built many decades ago and is very fragile. If we repave Ellerdale, the work will likely lead to breaks in the water main and catastrophic flooding. In order to prevent that, the water main must first be relined but the main is the responsibility of the Montreal Agglomeration, as it is one of the major distribution mains for the entire island. We need Montreal’s agreement for us to do the work since the Agglomeration must pay for it.

I have approached Mayor Russell Copeman of the Côte des Neiges – NDG borough, as well as, Councillor Lionel Perez. Both are on the Montreal Executive Committee and Councillor Perez is in charge of infrastructure. I am optimistic that we will get the green light to do the work for several reasons. First, drivers on Ellerdale are mostly Montrealers passing through Hampstead from Isabella in NDG to Fielding in NDG. Second, the water main will rupture sooner or later, as so many Montreal water mains have. Lastly, and most importantly, under Mayor Coderre’s administration Montreal is finally tackling their infrastructure deficit. It will take years but the work has begun. I have been told that money is not as much of a problem as a limit on how many projects Montreal can do at once. One advantage of this project to Montreal is that Hampstead would write the specs, do the call for tenders and supervise the work of the winning bidder. Montreal would only write the cheque.

MacDonald

The situation with MacDonld is a little different but we also need to work with Montreal. The west side of MacDonald from Vezina to Langhorne belongs to Hampstead. Again, we would like to pave the road which, while not as bad as Ellerdale, is in poor shape. However, it is impossible to pave only half a road so we must do it with Montreal. I have spoken to several Mayors of the Côte des Neiges – NDG borough over the last several years and explained that Hampstead will pay 50% of the cost whenever they are ready. They can choose the contractor or we can do it. It is a good deal for them as they can pave 4 blocks for the cost of doing two. Due to the push to fix Montreal’s infrastructure, I think this will happen in the next few years. 

Other Infrastructure Work

This summer we are paving a number of roads, spending close to half a million on sidewalks and doing a lot of work on our sewers. After several years concentrating on water mains, there are no more mains on the priority list. However, if Montreal authorizes the work, we will do the one under Ellerdale, but that will be paid for by the Agglomeration. The other work that we are doing is mostly covered by grants or our accumulated surplus.

If you have any comments or questions on this topic or anything related to Hampstead, please e-mail me at wsteinberg@hampstead.qc.ca or call me 7 days a week until midnight at my home office (514) 483-6954.


Sincerely,


Dr. Bill Steinberg
Mayor, Town of Hampstead