OCPM Recommends Ensuring Peaceful Co-Existence of Residential and Industrial Areas in Redevelopment Project for Site of Old CN Shops
Montréal, January 14, 2010 – The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) makes public today the report on the consultation regarding the redevelopment project for the site of the old CN Shops, in the Pointe Saint-Charles area of the Sud-Ouest borough. Mr. André Beauchamp was chairing the commission with Mr. André Hamelin as commissioner.
The developer, Groupe Mach, is proposing three different types of redevelopment for the site. It has joined forces with Samcon to build 854 housing units, 25% of which consist of social and community housing, and 15% to 25% of affordable housing. Meanwhile, it is reserving the central portion for industrial and commercial purposes, and the Agence métropolitaine de transport de Montréal (AMT) would like to occupy the northern portion of the site with a maintenance centre for its railway equipment.
The redevelopment of the site of the old CN Shops has raised a great deal of interest and generated extensive planning efforts on the part of citizens, Pointe-Saint-Charles community organizations, developers, and the Sud-Ouest borough. The site was also the object of an Opération populaire d'aménagement spanning several years. Furthermore, in 2008, following a mandate from the executive committee requested by the borough, the OCPM conducted a public consultation as part of a participatory process aimed at establishing the guiding principles of a master development plan for the site. More than 300 people participated in that consultation, for which the report was filed and made public in March 2009.
By the end of the present consultation, over 700 people had been registered at the public meetings. The second commission of the Office received 31 briefs and heard four oral presentations. Overall, participants appeared satisfied with the plans for the residential section, and were happy that the AMT would revive the site’s historical railway vocation. They would also like the agency to return for further public consultation once its project has been more clearly defined.
However, concerns remained regarding certain aspects of the residential project presented by Group Mach and Samcon, its partner, notably with respect to the percentage of social housing, the rehabilitation of contaminated land, and greening. Furthermore, serious reservations were expressed concerning uses that the borough plans to authorize for the industrial and commercial section of the site, at the request of the developer, Groupe Mach, and regarding access to the site. The commission sets out suggestions and recommendations on those issues throughout the report. The main ones are outlined below.
In terms of social housing, the commission is aware that funds allocated by the Québec Government to the City of Montréal are limited, and that they must meet important needs in all boroughs of the city. In that context, it finds the rate of 25% proposed by the developer acceptable, as it is almost double the rate suggested by the City’s Stratégie d’inclusion. The commission also proposes the inclusion in the development agreement between the developer and the City of a minimum number of affordable housing units throughout the residential complex. To ensure greater long-term contaminated land management safety, the commission recommends that a membrane be installed between the clean and contaminated soil over the entire area of the residential site.
Many unknowns still remain as to the actual use that will be made of the industrial and commercial section of the project adjoining the residential complex. The developer is requesting that the range of uses permitted on that part of the site be greatly expanded, going from an almost single use to a multitude of industrial and commercial uses. Some of those uses are incompatible with or difficult to insert in proximity to a residential area. They may generate significant nuisances, unless the borough ensures that its requirements are followed to the letter by the developer and all its tenants. In that hypothetical context, the commission believes that it would be more prudent to restrict the uses requested with a view to promoting a more peaceful co-existence of the industrial and residential sectors. It also recommends that activities involving a high volume of truck traffic not be permitted until such time as the entrance to the site from Marc-Cantin Street is functional.
Printed copies of the report are available at the offices of the OCPM, and on its Web site at www.ocpm.qc.ca. All information available on the consultation may be obtained at the offices of the OCPM, at the Direction du greffe de la Ville de Montréal, 275 Notre-Dame Street East, and at the Sud-Ouest borough office, 815 Bel-Air Street. The documentation is also available on the Office Web site, at www.ocpm.qc.ca. For any information, please call 514 872-8510.
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