The south of the West Island has traditionally been considered a wealthy sector, and its social development needs have long gone unrecognised. Though wealth does exist in the suburbs of the West Island, we also know that more vulnerable neighbourhoods and important social issues are hidden in the midst of this wealth. This reality is already evident is several dispersed sectors of Pointe-Claire, Dorval, Kirkland and Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, where pockets of poverty exist.
As a community council, we aim, among other things, to address this hidden poverty dispersed throughout the West Island territory.
- At least 9 000 individuals live under the poverty line and many others on low income. These people struggle to make ends meet, and they need services and support.
- Close to 70% of households consist of families with children, compared to 63% on the island of Montreal.
- It is therefore no suprise that 46 246 children and youth aged 5-19 live on West Island, representing 22% of the total population (versus 16% in Montreal).
- 13% of the population has a form of disability / handicap, compared to 8% in Montreal.
- With our lacking public transit and a large number of seniors still living at home, the risk of isolation and vulnerability will only continue to increase with the predicted rise of our senior population.
In the light of these facts, several members of the community chose to unite and establish a roundtable whereby local stakeholders could address many of the local population’s concerns and issues encountered in the south of the West Island.
The decision to form a community council became an obvious and necessary one. A multi-sectorial network is fundamental in order to unite the different active forces of a community, to build a global vision of local priorities, and to align efforts and actions with the aim of improving quality of life for all – especially in the context of seven demerged cities that make up the south.