Plan de Développement urbain, économique et social (PDUES) for the Marconi-Alexandra, Atlantic, Beaumont and De Castelanau areas: OCPM supports improved plan

MONTREAL, July 29, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Office de consultation publique de Montréal makes public today the report on the consultation held in the spring on the Plan de développement urbain, économique et social (PDUES) for the Marconi-Alexandra, Atlantic, Beaumont and De Castelnau areas.

The PDUES proposes a revitalization strategy for the land along the Canadian Pacific (CP) railway tracks. The project calls for a number of amendments to the Montréal Master Plan in terms of real estate development structure, i.e. land-use designation, heights and densities, and urban design principles.

To maximize the positive spinoffs of the conversion of the Outremont rail yards by the Université de Montréal, adopted in 2011, the Ville de Montréal has drawn up a plan for the urban, economic and social development of the surrounding areas.

Several hundreds of people attended the public sessions, and the commission received or heard 80 briefs and oral presentations. The general opinion on the development plan is positive. The initiative is applauded for its innovativeness, its scope exceeding land-use planning issues to encompass economic and social considerations, and the democratic aspects of the drafting process. However, participants made numerous concrete suggestions to improve the PDUES. The commission evaluated those suggestions with a view to enhancing the document, expanding its scope, and energizing the next planning and repurposing phases for the area.

The territory covered by the PDUES runs along a good portion of the site that will accommodate the upcoming expansion of the University of Montréal's Outremont campus. The commission notes that the establishment of a new university campus often provides an opportunity, both in Québec and abroad, to stimulate an area's economic and social development. There are many examples where university and community partners have benefited from close cooperation in creating a landscape and living environment serving the interests of all concerned. It appears that the Université de Montréal, despite an official statement of intent, is aiming only for the bare minimum in terms of orientations to that effect. Their implementation is not described anywhere, which is worrisome and disappointing. To achieve its optimum usefulness and in the public interest, the PDUES must be devised in close cooperation with the Université de Montréal and its affiliated schools, as major partners in the area's development. The commission recommends the establishment of a formal agreement between Montréal and the Université de Montréal with a view to developing such an orientation.

The territory covered by the PDUES is located at the heart of the island, in central areas, extremely well situated to assume both residential and employment functions and to help counter the suburban sprawl of Montréal's economy, while offering the possibility of bringing home and work locations closer together. The economic vocation of the territory of the PDUES proposed by Montréal is a choice supported by the community, hoping thereby to reduce real estate speculation to the benefit of already established businesses and of a new economy to the benefit of artists, artisans and small businesses.

At the suggestion of some of the participants, the commission recommends that a local hiring and purchasing plan be added to Montréal's proposed intervention strategy, and that space be reserved, within the "creativity hub," for a production/manufacturing sector, which could include an urban agriculture component.

Furthermore, problems related to housing were omnipresent. The PDUES provides for the possibility of 1500 housing units. The commission recommends that the development of affordable and social housing, notably co-ops, be recognized as the priority of the area's "social development" aspect. It also recommends that an action plan be drawn up for affordable and social housing that would include a target number of affordable and social housing units; interventions on the existing housing stock; the adjustment of the inclusion strategy; the establishment of land reserves; and the enhancement of regulation tools.

The quality of the proposed links between the future campus and Parc-Extension and the creation of new links to the Rosemont area are extremely important, as the territory is currently closed in by the railway tracks. In that respect, the commission recommends a look at the possibility of relocating the planned road yard on the campus site, and the creation of a safe crosswalk for users around De L'Épée Avenue. Further reflection is also required in terms of the links to be created with the Acadie Metro Station and Beaumont Avenue, the extension of the east-west axis of the future campus up to Parc Avenue, to make them signature entrances to the Outremont campus.

Many lamented the lack of planned interventions around the Jean-Talon train station, the area's major public space and an important transportation hub. The commission recommends that Montréal draw up a development strategy to improve the connectivity among the various modes of transportation and make intersections safer.

Many other proposals were also set out, notably regarding the redevelopment of Parc Avenue and Jean-Talon Street, the development and enhancement of views, and the strengthening of the regulation framework.

Following the public consultation, the commission favours the adoption of an enhanced PDUES. It proposes that a moratorium on construction permits and zoning changes be implemented until the Plan's adoption. It also identifies as a priority the integration of seven measures into the document, such as an action plan for affordable housing, the redevelopment of the Parc and Jean-Talon major arteries, including overpasses and the Jean-Talon Station intermodal centre, as well as concerted action promoting local hiring.

All available information on the program may be obtained at the offices of the OCPM, 1550 Metcalfe Street, Suite 1414, and at the Direction du greffe at City Hall, 275 Notre-Dame Street East. The documentation is also available on the Office Web site, at www.ocpm.qc.ca.

SOURCE: Office de consultation publique de Montréal

For further information:

Luc Doray
514 872-3568
514 977-8365 (Cell.)


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