It's an interesting take, and it probably wouldn't surprise anybody if that is indeed part of CDPQ's business case and long term objective for this project.I have a bit of a different take on the REM, and after reading almost the whole thread i've noticed that noone has made it yet.
Many critics (and many @Urban Sky posts) have noted how the REM poorly serves suburban areas, and ignores parts of the city that would most benefit from greater service. That so much of the stations are surrounded by low value greyfield and industrial areas.
I think that's an asset, and a huge opportunity. My position is that a major design consideration of the entire project from the start of CDPQ's involvement has been catalyzing TOD construction. (or if you want to be cynical, real estate opportunities for Ivanhoé Cambridge )
We can look at stations like du Quartier, Panama, nuns island, Bassin peel, A40, Sources, Technoparc, Fairview and Kirkland. All of them have massive intensification and development potential.
If you think of the project more broadly in the scope of sustainable development, these areas will allow for many tens of thousands of new residential units, transit accessible retail and office spaces to be created, and greatly limit the need for future auto dependency in these areas (note how little new parking is planned around any of the stations, aside from the dix30 terminal). This is bolstered by the fact that Montreal's regional development plan (the PMAD) requires substantial increases in density and mixed uses in areas designated TOD. So there is less room for NIMBYism than normal.
My hope is that the REM will sow the seeds for a massive influx of affordable, accessible, sustainable suburban living that will be close enough to the city center to take a lot of the pressure off many currently gentrifying areas.
One of the greatest flaws i've seen in Toronto transit planning is how much the need for parking has destroyed the ability of stations to encourage development.
All those GO stations with those massive parking garages could have instead been massive new neighborhoods. As an ex student of York University, the new Subway stations are a massively underwhelming.
On the other hand I am very excited by Mississauga's Hurontario LRT and its integrated zoning and development plans.
As Nfitz has said, the south shore has been planning for rapid transit for 20 years now. Which is why the city of Brossard has a very aggressive development vision already signed and ready.
This video they made a few years ago is really exciting, and a template that I hope many other areas will copy:
No way to tell until the dust settles - which should be fairly soon given the pace of construction in South Shore and West Island - we should be expecting at least 1 of the REM lines to be operational in the next 2-3 years.