Jamie Nicholls is the region’s only mayor to lead a predominantly English-speaking town, Hudson. He spoke to our journalist about the specificities of his city and the challenges for the future.
Mr. Nicholls was elected mayor of Hudson in 2017, after spending time in federal politics. He put everything aside in order to concentrate on his city which really needed it. Hudson was under a lot of scrutiny, in 2013, when its former Director General committed fraud and put the city in a shambles.
“I failed to deliver on 25% of my campaign promises because I had to fix the mess and get Hudson back on track, said Mayor Nicholls. That’s why I’m running for re-election again in November to finish my job and show what more I can accomplish.”
An English-speaking community apart
At first glance, one could say that Hudson is an extension of Montreal’s West Island, as both places have a predominantly English-speaking population and are roughly in the same region. Jamie Nicholls points out that this is not the case and that we must stop comparing the two.
He indicates that the community of Hudson was founded in the 1830s by large British families who came to colonize Quebec following the War of 1812-1814. Hudson is a city that has a rich history and deserves to be heard, according to Mr. Nicholls.
“We are the only city in Vaudreuil-Soulanges to have more than 50% of our population whose mother tongue is English, he says. We are 72% anglophones and 28% francophones. Hudson can prosper as an English-speaking city thanks to the Quebec laws.”
He explains that city council meetings are held in English, but that they are translated by the clerk into French. Jamie Nicholls is proud to be able to bring English to the forefront in his city.
A main street in the development of Hudson
Maine Street is the heart of the city, according to Mayor Nicholls. He wishes with all his heart to be able to protect this unique place which constitutes a village island.
“I hope that Maine Street remains a commercial corridor as much as possible, launches the first magistrate. People are happy to have local shops and that’s what I try to keep.”
At the corner of Maine and Cameron streets, a three-story building is under construction. Mayor Nicholls negotiated with the owners of the building to allow commercial use on the first floor.
“There is also a great energy on the street, he says. The shops complement one another and it’s beautiful to see. For example, the old garage Pierre has been replaced by Cardinal Brewing which used the original building which gives the business a great look.”
Sidewalk repairs and paving will be done this summer to enhance the character of the main street.
With the vaccination accelerating, the mayor sees businesses bustling in order to be ready for the recovery. He mentions that local restaurant owners have created the Hudson hospitality organization. This organization helps the restaurant owners and makes presentations to the city to accommodate everyone.
“With the support of the council, I accepted that there be terraces in the street again this summer to accommodate restaurant owners. We are all working to revive our local economy.”