MONTREAL, April 30, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Office de consultation
publique de Montréal releases today its report on the consultation held
in recent months to establish a vision and development orientations for
the Griffintown area. Located in the Sud-Ouest borough, at the entrance
to the central business district, the area was used for industrial
purposes in the 19th century. Its progressive decline was precipitated by the closing of the
Lachine Canal in 1970.
The redevelopment of Griffintown generated a great deal of interest with
developers and the general population, reflected in the large
participation in the consultation nearing completion, one of the most
significant that the Office has ever experienced. Some 1000 people
participated in the activities of the commission, including 49 people
and groups who spoke at the formal hearings. The opinions expressed
covered a wide range of topics, in keeping with the magnitude of the
mandate the commission had to fulfill.
The area has important heritage value and offers great repurposing and
development potential. The commission believes that innovation and
creativity have been part of Griffintown's DNA since the 19th century, and should be the lead wires for the development vision for
the area, in a spirit linking past and future. This involves innovation
at all levels, including technological, social, urbanistic and
environmental. The commission has identified five unifying development
principles that should guide Montréal in drafting its integrated
development plan for Griffintown.
Firstly, Montréal should capitalize on the added value of the heritage
factor for its revitalization of the area.
Secondly, the redevelopment of Griffintown should aim to open up a mixed
and multifunctional area, connected with the surrounding areas.
Thirdly, the densification of the area should be seen as a tool serving
the quality of life.
Fourthly, it is important to create green spaces and promote the
liveliness of the neighbourhood.
Lastly, the planning should aim to make Griffintown a model of
The consultation began in an atmosphere of scepticism. Given the
numerous real estate projects already authorized or under way, a very
large number of participants fear that Montréal will be forced to react
to rapidly multiplying private projects rather than exercising the
leadership we expect from it so that the neighbourhood can develop
coherently and in the general interest in the long term.
The commission believes that it is not too late to deflect certain
trends, but that time is of the essence and that it is urgent to act.
Notably, the commission recommends:
That Montréal, in the short term, prepare the ground for a heritage
protection and enhancement strategy for the area, including emblematic
buildings and the street grid; and that it make the commitment to
protect them and make them revitalization centres;
That only projects respecting the height limits provided under existing
by-laws be authorized, until the integrated urban development plan is
That projects of great height by right be authorized only by requiring
the integration of proportional green spaces, to lessen their street
presence and allow the neighbourhood to breathe;
That the Affordable Housing Inclusion Strategy continue to apply to all
projects of 200 or more units, whether by right or not, and that the
borough pursue its efforts with respect to projects of 200 units or
That Montréal quickly set up the necessary land banks or rely on other
means, notably regulatory tools, to reserve land for parks, public
spaces and co-op housing for families;
That it employ the appropriate means, including by-laws, to preserve
That a project office be duly established, bringing together the central
city and the Sud-Ouest borough. All Montréal departments concerned with
the reconstruction of Griffintown should be represented there. The
office should also have access to external resources;
That a joint-action committee comprised of local players be established
as quickly as possible. The project office should involve the committee
in the various stages of the area's development.
The commission points out that, according to general opinion, the
redevelopment of an urban area of the magnitude of Griffintown, at the
gates to downtown Montréal and the historic area, deserves that we take
the time required to do a good job, once the necessary precautions have
been taken to allow Griffintown to preserve and build on its character.
Some said that the challenge would extend over 10 to 15 years, and the
vision outlined in this report pertains to a major urban project that
must be closely monitored through every development, every
construction, and every building.
Lastly, the commission recommends that Montréal quickly establish a plan
of the investments it expects to make over the next five years to
develop a quality public environment. Some financing methods were also
All available information on this project, including the commission's
report, 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/griffintown.
SOURCE OFFICE DE CONSULTATION PUBLIQUE DE MONTREAL
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