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This is an experimental website designed to be a resource for curious residents looking for more information about the operation of the Montreal West municipal government. It should not be confused with the official Town of Montreal West website which can be found here.  (Anyone willing to translate this material into French should contact me.) 


Question Period at Council meetings is always prefaced by the statement that “this is not the place for debate”. But where is the place for citizen input and query beyond the constraints of Council meetings? A second problem is that, based on reporter Carol Foster's observations concerning repeated questions at Council meetings, residents are not well informed. Large consultations sometimes convened at the Town Hall are generally unwieldy and often accomplish little. Occasional focus groups, though well-intentioned, require a time commitment from residents who, though wanting to make input, find the times inconvenient. And perhaps they only want to make a few interventions and not sit through formal get-togethers. 


Communication with residents has improved over the last ten years with a good Town website providing certain types of information and a Town Facebook page – which unfortunately does not allow for comment, or capturing feedback from residents. What is missing is a means for residents to make online comment and query, and a repository for all the useful information found in The Informer descriptions of Town council meetings and the Councillors' ReportsThese two issues of availability of information and the ability to provide input are what I hope to address with this website and a companion Facebook page.


As I reviewed the last 4 years of Council meetings reported in The Informer, and in official council minutes available on the Town website, it became clear that we often keep “reinventing the wheel” by asking many of the same questions over and over. This is in part due to the fact that certain issues never seem to get resolved, or take a long time to do so, and others such as the Westminster train crossing that are intractable. Mostly, though, past answers have been lost to the public consciousness as they have nowhere to go other than in back issues of The Informer, which are only available for those few people who keep them!


There are fives pages on this website: FAQs, Councillors' Reports, Featured Content,  Financial & Tax Data, and Real Estate Market.


The FAQs page contains answers to many of the recurrent questions from Council meetings, and the Councillors’ Reports page contains a variety of useful information provided by our councillors  both extracted from The Informer. (I’ll be digging further back in The Informer to pull out more information.)

At the top of the FAQs page the Quick answers to popular questions section includes: why does the police officer stationed at the Westminster train crossing generally only observe, instead of actively directing traffic? why don’t we install traffic lights at the train crossing? When will trucks on Avon road be restricted? Can we get better lighting on certain streets? and so on. The Bylaws more honoured in the breach … section describes bylaws enforced with some discretion  meaning mostly ignored  and those that are often unenforceable.


The Featured content page will highlight topics of interest. (No content yet.)

Data on debt, debt charges, surplus & accumulated surplus, capital & infrastructure spending, tax growth, and comparative tax rates with 13 other municipalities is contained on the Financial & tax data page


For those curious about our local market, the Real estate market page gives a list of publicly registered, but not private, sales back to 2011. Also included is a report that compares our market performance with 13 other municipalities, and the impact of high taxes on our median selling price.

Generating debate online is pretty much impossible, and online discussion is tricky, not to mention fraught. This experiment hopes to provide information on this website, and generate comment, useful suggestions, and feedback from residents on the Montreal West Community Forum Facebook page. Ideally, the combination of the two might create a stronger voice for residents, and advocate for change where necessary.

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