Bridge-Bonaventure sector | Real estate developers say they are “gagged” by Montreal

Developers and real estate groups are firing red balls at the Plante administration, which they accuse of blatant “lack of listening” and dialogue in the file of the redevelopment of the Bridge-Bonaventure sector. According to three industry players, the City is heading towards a downright “underdeveloped” project.

Posted at 11:45 a.m.

Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vezina
The Press

“Their vision proposes only 17 housing units per hectare, which is a marked under-densification when we know that we are facing a housing crisis. We think that this development is not socially responsible given the issues we should be facing,” says the president of the COPRIM firm, Vianney Bélanger.

Accusing Montreal of “ghettoizing” real estate development, developers – who had invited the media to a virtual press briefing on Monday – estimate instead that they can build between 12,000 and 15,000 homes in the area. This is at least three times more than the target of the Plante administration, which set the number of units it plans to build at 4,000 a few weeks ago, including 1,270 social and affordable housing units as well as 320 family units.

“It lacks realism”

However, for Mr. Bélanger, the vision of the City “comes from the XXand century “. “Climate change, urban sprawl, the housing crisis, all of that, it’s as if it’s missing from this debate. And with their process, we still have three years of consultation. It lacks realism, responsibility. If there is not a change of attitude and a real open, frank consultation, we are going towards a project that we will all be able to regret, ”adds the promoter.

The vice-president of real estate development of the MACH group, Cédric Constantin, affirms that this attitude plays against the interest of the population. “In the approach we proposed to the City, we favored buildings with a small footprint on the ground in order to free up green spaces on the ground. Unfortunately, the City – in its idea of ​​wanting to favor economic activities – comes to offer buildings with very few footprints on the ground, and therefore, very few green spaces”, he illustrates. For him, the City is acting downright “like a dictatorship” by refusing to listen to the demands of the industry.


PHOTO PATRICK SANFAÇON, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Robert Beaudry, responsible for urban planning files on the Montreal executive committee

Joined by The Pressthe person in charge of urban planning files on the executive committee, Robert Beaudry, says he is “again speechless” by the exit of the promoters, who nevertheless have multiplied the meetings with the executive committee, according to his words. “As recently as last week, the president of the MACH group, for example, was in the office of the mayor. We work with them on many projects,” he replies.

Mr. Beaudry affirms that the promoters occupy “three seats” on the consultation table, which was to meet this Monday, in addition to having been “met before the filing of the different visions”. “They will also participate in the consultation that will come before the OCPM,” adds the elected municipal official. “They won’t feel listened to until the day we decide to do exactly what they want. But that is not the role of the City. We don’t work for promoters, we work for the population. »

An invitation to the public


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Serge Goulet, president of Devimco

The president of Devimco, Serge Goulet, meanwhile argued Monday that the City is “in the process of instrumentalizing consultation activities” to endorse “his vision”. “We are running out of resources and skills that Montreal needs. The private sector is not at the table,” he laments.

“We have been trying to make ourselves heard for three years. We had to force the door for the consultation table to accept the Urban Development Institute (IDU) with private developers,” adds Serge Goulet, for whom the consultation procedures are “improvised” and “lack transparency”. He calls for a “fundamental debate” on the way the City has to work with the private sector.

His group thus invites the Montreal public to a major “open house” day scheduled for May 31, the details of which will be revealed in the coming days. “We want the entire population to have the opportunity to see our own vision, our way of making this project economically, socially and environmentally responsible. We will show you what our skills, vision and resources are,” concludes Mr. Goulet.

“Do citizens agree to pay their taxes for an underdeveloped project, while a responsible project would be self-financing? Me, I’m interested in asking that question, but right now, with the platform we’re given, we’re not capable. We are gagged, ”he concludes.

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    The creation of “many green spaces” is also at the heart of the preliminary vision of the City, which would also like to see an REM station in the area. In October, Valérie Plante had promised to create a riverside promenade on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Montreal therefore proposes to create “48 hectares of new public green spaces” and five kilometers of shoreline, along the river and the Lachine Canal. A dozen kilometers of bike paths would also be added on either side of the new promenade.

    source: city of montreal

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