Mayor Peter F. Trent and 8 city councillors, each representing one of the city’s 8 wards, form the council of the City of Westmount. The council is the main governing and legislative body for the city.
The Mayor and Councillors also sit on various standing committees and municipal organizations.
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Mr. Trent was first elected to Westmount City Council in 1983. From 1983 to 1987, he was the Commissioner of Planning and Redevelopment, responsible for major changes in zoning and heritage legislation. In January 1990, Mr. Trent was again elected to Council, becoming the Commissioner of Finance. City spending was frozen since that date – until its forced merger with Montreal on January 1, 2002.
From 1991 to 2001, Mr. Trent was the Mayor of Westmount. He was the moving force behind the 1994-95 restoration and expansion of the Westmount Public Library. From 1991 to 1994, he was a member of the Environment Commission of the Montreal Urban Community (MUC).
From January 1994 to January 1998, Mr. Trent was President of the Conference of Montreal Suburban Mayors. From November 1994 to February 1998, he was Vice-Chairman of the Montreal Urban Community.
From 1994 to 2001, Mr. Trent was a member of the Executive Committee of the MUC. During 1998, he was a member of the Board of the MUC Transit Commission. From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Trent was the Vice-chairman of the Administration and Finance Commission of the MUC.
From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Trent led the fight against forced municipal mergers on the Island of Montreal – in the courts and in the media. A SOM poll (The Gazette, 2 August 2001) revealed that Mr Trent was the most popular suburban choice for mayor of the new megacity of Montreal, even though he had refused to run. Another SOM poll (La Presse, 25 August 2001) showed that, right across the Island of Montreal, more people had confidence in Mr. Trent to run the megacity than in Gérald Tremblay – who was elected mayor two months later.
Mr. Trent was the instigator of, and a contributor to, the Poitras Report. The release of this report in March 2003 turned municipal demergers into a major provincial election issue, winning twenty seats for the Liberal Party, and leading directly to legislation permitting such demergers. He was the demerger leader across the Island of Montreal. Thirty Quebec cities demerged 1 January 2006, including Westmount.
Mr. Trent was re-elected Mayor of Westmount in October 2009, and shortly thereafter was elected President of the Association of Suburban Municipalities of the Island of Montreal. He was again re-elected mayor in October 2013.
Mayor Trent was the driving force behind the building of the Westmount Recreation Centre. In late 2009, he convinced Council to reject a plan for an above-ground Arena/pool, to build the ice rinks underground, and later to switch from the traditional “design-bid-build” method to “design-build.” The Westmount Recreation Centre, to be completed in November 2013, houses the world’s first underground rinks.
Mr. Trent wrote a critically-acclaimed history of the 2002 municipal mergers entitled The Merger Delusion, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in November 2012. His book was a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for the year’s best Canadian political book.
“A brilliant history…an erudite, meticulous, yet lively narrative. (….) Written with wit and no small degree of self-criticism, this splendid book is a warning to politicians of all persuasions.”
― Conrad Black
“I thought The Merger Delusion frankly was fantastic…I got into it and I literally could not stop. A magnificent story about what a provincial government should not do.”
― Ed Broadbent
“Written by a politician who can actually write.”
― Daniel Poliquin
In June 2013, the Civic Action League, a pan-Québec anti-corruption group, awarded Mayor Trent a prize for his “exceptional contribution” to the fight against corruption, his sound municipal stewardship, and his political activism that resulted in the reconstitution of 14 cities on the Island of Montreal.
Mr. Trent was a shareholder and director, the President and C.E.O. of PBI/Plastibeton Inc., a company he co-founded in 1971 at the age of 25. He invented, developed, and put into production an entirely new composite material used in applications as diverse as building cladding, quartz countertops, tiles, and moulded products for industry. He had world-wide chemical patents in his name.
A number of international companies became shareholders of PBI: Turner and Newall PLC of England, the Shell Oil Company (Houston, Texas), and Lone Star Industries (Greenwich, Connecticut). From 1979 to 1988, they invested over $50 million in PBI. In 1989 Mr. Trent resigned from PBI.
Born in England, educated at McMaster University, Mr. Trent moved to Québec in 1968. In 1982/83, he taught Marketing at Concordia University. He was awarded the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013. From 1994 to 1999, he served as the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal Montreal Regiment, and then as Honorary Colonel until 2008. In 2005, he was awarded the Canadian Forces’ Decoration.
Mr Trent has performed in a number of theatrical productions, by the Lakeshore Players (California Suite), the Centaur Theatre (Merry Millennium) and Geordie Productions, playing King Henry VIII in A Man for All Seasons, Noel Coward in The Man Who Came to Dinner, Colonel Pickering in Pygmalion and the Judge in To Kill a Mockingbird. He wrote and performed in a play for the 125th anniversary of the City of Westmount. From 1991 to 1999, his column appeared regularly in the Westmount Examiner. Between1996 and 2001, he wrote editorials for the Montreal Gazette as a member of its Board of Contributors.
Patrick Martin was elected by acclamation in the Westmount municipal election of November 1, 2009.
A mechanical and civil engineer who has worked in 55 countries and holder of a postgraduate degree in transportation planning, Mr. Martin was named Commissioner of Utilities, responsible for the operations of Hydro Westmount and the local water distribution and sewer systems. His technical expertise will be a valuable tool for Council in these areas.
Philip A. Cutler was elected to Westmount City Council on November 3, 2013.
Cutler, a lifelong Westmount resident, attended Roslyn School and Selwyn House School before going to John Abbott College. He holds a Bachelor’s of Education (B.Ed) from McGill University, where he was a member of Senate as well as a linebacker on the Redmen Varsity Football team.
Cutler is the Founder & President of Laurus Educational Services, a national tutoring service, as well as the Founder & Managing Director of Laurus Summer Camp. Cutler’s experience is most noted in education, sports & recreation, technology and business.
Over his first mandate, Cutler hopes to help promote healthy living, improve city wide technology and provide all citizens with the best services for their tax dollars.
Commissioner of Cultural Events
Nicole Forbes was elected in the Westmount municipal election of November 1, 2009.
Raised in Westmount, where the house her great-grandfather had built in the early 1900s still stands on the corner of Montrose and Mount-Pleasant, Ms. Forbes was a long-time member of the Community Events Advisory Committee before taking on the role of Commissioner of Recreation and Community Events. She was also an instrumental player in Westmount’s Demerger Referendum, and worked alongside former Mayor Peter Trent as campaign organizer.
Fluent in both French and English, Ms. Forbes studied art history and architecture in Italy, where she also picked up her third language. She then added a smattering of German to her repertoire while continuing her studies in Austria. Upon her return to Westmount, she obtained her Masters in Linguistics. Because she believes that a good knowledge of French is essential in Québec, Ms. Forbes also started the Centre de la petite enfance Enfant des Neiges, while bringing up her children, after which she worked for many years for the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, and sat on the Board of several artistic institutions, including those of theCentaur Theatre and the Westmount Visual Arts Centre.
Always more comfortable as a “behind-the-scenes” person, Nicole Forbes chose to take up the challenge of running for public office to give time and energy to the Westmount community and to partake in the City’s decision-making process.
Commissioner of Sustainability and Parks
Cynthia Lulham was first elected to Westmount City Council in 1995 and has represented District 7 for 18 years. For the last 8 years she was the Commissioner of Urban Planning, Parks and Green Spaces. Previously, she was the Commissioner of Recreation and Culture for ten years. Cynthia is committed to protecting the diversity and historic integrity of the City’s built environment, parks and green spaces and improving Westmount’s environmental programmes.
First elected on a platform of “building community” Cynthia chaired the Victoria Hall renovation program that included the building of the Gallery and the creation of the Community Events Committee, as well as the Community Events Department. She was the co-chair of the Westmount Demerger Committee and is committed to serving the needs of the residents of Westmount.
Cynthia was a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Transportation Committee for 5 years and the vice-chair of the FCM’s Quebec Caucus in 2006.
She was the FCM co-chair of the Proximity Initiative Steering Committee when it was created in 2003 and has been the Proximity Initiative Project Manager since 2007. She works with senior railway representatives and elected municipal representatives from across the country, organizing and guiding their partnership in order to develop solutions to rail proximity issues.