Deux Montagnes mayor Denis Martin thanks citizens for following directions.
For a person like Denis Martin, mayor of the city of Deux Montagnes, whose job relies so much on human contact, covid-19 has been an unexpected and devastating new reality hitting pause on everyday life. A city with so many activities in the spring planned and then cancelled, has to learn how to live a new life of social distancing and closures.
The mood of Deux Montagnes
“My job is to meet with the citizens and to be in line with what they need. Understandably this is very hard now which makes my job more difficult” said mayor Denis Martin. “We have a lot of different activities like the flower festival, Saint Jean-Baptiste, Canada Day etc”.
Deux Montagnes is a tight-knit community and people depend on all the activities the city offers; they are used to them and they represent an important part of their lives. The mayor was worried about the mood of his constituents during the 6-12-month period of a break from all these activities. Since all of them were postponed the city is trying to keep the much-needed contact with the residents by having the white-collar workers call homes directly to check up on them and see how they’re going. “Even though the system has been working, human contact is still missed of course” said Mr. Martin.
A common positive trait shared by residents in many cities in the Laurentians is that people have been respecting the social distancing rule and in general they have been following the guidelines of the government with the only exception being that of the contagion in the Boisbriand Hassidic community. Denis Martin was happy to report a similar situation in Deux Montagnes. “A lot of them are taking walks and I have been driving around always maintaining my distance speaking to the citizens. So far they’ve been taking it well” said the mayor. The police are rarely called, only three or four minor incidents, and most of the times to inform the citizens and give them instructions.
The dark cloud over local businesses
The fate of the local businesses has been one of mayor Martins’ biggest concerns.
“Some of restaurants have transformed into delivery services while others closed completely. I do not know how they are going to reopen and I’m quite worried about them” said the mayor. A lot of closed small businesses have lost their clientele so they’re also going to be affected when this is over. “In collaboration with the MRC and the funds that have been set aside by the government we are looking in to different ways of helping these businesses survive this”.
In terms of measures to relieve financial strain to the citizens the city of Two Mountains in these trying times, just like the other cities in the Laurentians, TM has cut interest and penalties until July 1st giving the residents a chance to receive the different financial aid packages from the federal government. What will happen next, however, will remain an ongoing reflection for mayor Martin and the city council in the coming weeks.
Safe from flooding
“As far as the danger of flooding goes the city is well prepared” declared the mayor. Since 2017, TM has been in collaboration with the MRC for the completion of a significant anti-flooding dyke. This was completed in January, significantly increasing the city’s protection from flooding during the spring thaw.
The mayor confirmed, as well, the purchase of about 3,000 sandbags should the citizens need them however, he did not see a cause for alarm especially this year.
Deux Montagnes line closed
One of the situations the city had to contend with, was the closure of the AMT (now EXO) line of the REM train Deux Montagnes. This brought a lot of headache and strife to the commuters not only for TM but to all the communities affected along the line including the juggernaut municipality of St-Laurent. The mayor saw a positive effect of people working from home in DM since that would reduce the need to use the train making the service less missed while construction and repairs are been made.