"Montréal's New Harbourfront": Canada's New Government to redevelop nearly 5 million sq. ft. of its properties



    MONTREAL, April 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister responsible
for 16 Crown corporations including the Canada Lands Company (CLC), and the
Honourable Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government
Services, today announced a major redevelopment of a number of Crown
properties in Montréal's harbourfront. The ministers also announced that the
CLC has been mandated to carry out the redevelopment following the broad
development principles announced today.
    "Over the past decades, Montréal's harbourfront has largely remained
simply a collection of Crown properties, with no plan to develop their
potential," said Minister Cannon. "Today I am proud to announce that Canada's
New Government has put an end to years of inaction and mandated the Canada
Lands Company to carry out a planned redevelopment of these exceptional
properties. The CLC is renowned throughout Canada for its experience and
success - it will be able to work closely with a range of agencies and
authorities, community groups and the City of Montréal, while respecting the
jurisdictions of each party. In the end, we want to help create an exceptional
urban space where people will want to live. 'Montréal's New Harbourfront' will
enhance the economic vitality of the City and Canada."
    "With this decision, we aspire to create an area that is greener, cleaner
and more welcoming for residents and tourists visiting Montréal. It is high
time that the federal government made possible the enhancement of these
exceptional properties for the great benefit of all Canadians. In the coming
years, we will be proud of the 'New Harbourfront'," added Minister Fortier.
    The "Montréal's New Harbourfront" initiative is based on four specific
objectives: healthy and prosperous cities and communities; clean-up of
contaminated land and sustainable urban redevelopment; respect for all levels
of government and the interests of third parties; and economic vitality.
Canada's New Government is first taking action to consolidate federal lands
for residential and commercial development, under the responsibility of CLC.
    In all, some 4.8 million square feet (448,242 square metres) of federal
land will be rehabilitated and developed by the CLC, an area three times the
size of the Montréal Convention Centre. The properties include Canada Post's
site (1500 Ottawa Street), two lots belonging to the Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation in Cité du Havre, as well as a variety of lots currently
managed by the Montréal Port Authority, including Silo No 5. The two ministers
specified that this redevelopment would not obstruct current port activities
in any way and that existing leases would be respected. The Port of Montréal
is of vital importance to the economy of Montréal and is a top ranking
maritime gateway for North America.
    The ministers also stated that the Old Port of Montréal Corporation
(OPMC) is a Crown corporation that has made an outstanding contribution to the
recreational and tourism development of the Old Port of Montréal. The CLC's
redevelopment activities will support the efforts of the OPMC, helping to
increase the recreational, tourism and cultural value of this famous Montréal
area.

    Canada Lands Company

    The CLC is a federal Crown corporation that optimizes the financial and
community value obtained from surplus properties no longer required by the
Government of Canada. The company is self-financing and implements innovative
property solutions to create strong and competitive communities where it
operates.
    The CLC's approach to redevelopment is focussed on working with and
consulting the local community. The Crown corporation works closely with
municipal authorities and a variety of interest groups to reach consensus on
the future use of the land it is developing.
    The CLC has already chalked up a number of successes throughout Canada,
including the redevelopment of Benny Farm in Montréal.


    For further information on the sites involved in this initiative, please
consult the attached backgrounders.

    

                         MONTREAL'S NEW HARBOURFRONT

    Cité du Havre

    Montreal's Cité du Havre peninsula faces Old Montreal, from which it is
separated by a basin and the wharves in the Old Port. A remarkable window on
the St Lawrence River, it is linked to St Helen's Island by the De la Concorde
Bridge. The area was used for the 1967 World's Fair.
    The site has immense development potential for the creation of a wide
variety of housing and recreational facilities and will become an integral
part of the existing neighbourhoods that adjoin it.
    Two lots of land currently owned by the Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation on Cité du Havre will be sold to the Canada Lands Company.


    1. Lot A is an unbuilt 90,000 m2 (968,700 ft2) space belonging to the
       CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) and is zoned
       residential and commercial.

    2. Lot B is an unbuilt 15,800 m2 (170,000 ft2) space belonging to the
       CMHC, located at the entrance to the De la Concorde Bridge and
       currently zoned as green space.

    

    Montréal Port Area Properties

    Under the strategy, certain properties owned by Transport Canada and
managed by the Montréal Port Authority will be sold to Canada Lands Company
(CLC). These properties are located in the following sectors:
Pointe-du-Moulin, rue des Irlandais and Lachine Canal.
    These three Montréal port area properties are historically significant to
the city, representing three important development periods: the building of
Victoria Bridge, the rise of the city as a modern commercial power and
Expo 67.
    The Government of Canada will respect all contractual rights of existing
tenants on these sites until the respective agreements have expired.
Archaeological and heritage issues affecting these properties will be
considered by CLC in future development plans.

    Pointe-du-Moulin / Grain Elevator No. 5 Sector

    The grain elevator No. 5 is recognized for its historic and architectural
value and illustrates the importance of wheat exportation to the Canadian
economy, an industry that began in the 1880s. For several decades wheat was
the Port of Montréal's most important export commodity.
    The square steel form of the oldest part of elevator No. 5 was built
between 1903 and 1906 for the Grand Trunk Railway Company and was considered
an engineering marvel. It was designed by Chicago's John S. Metcalf Company.
Mr. Metcalf was a native of Sherbrooke, Quebec. Additions and expansions
followed in 1913-1914, 1922-1923 and 1958-1959. Although the elevator ceased
operations in 1995, all of its essential internal and external components are
still in place today. Archaeological and heritage issues affecting these
properties will be considered by CLC in future development plans.

    The site is approximately 86,000 m2 (925,700 ft2).

    Rue des Irlandais / Irish Stone and Autostade Sector

    This area is named to commemorate the Irish immigrants who arrived in
large numbers in Montréal during the 1840s and who were hired as labourers to
build the Victoria Bridge. Workers lived in a tent city at the foot of the
bridge and contributed to building what was then known as the world's longest
bridge. In this location, workers unearthed a mass grave of 6000 Irish
immigrants who had died in an earlier typhus epidemic. The large potato shaped
Irish Stone at the bridge's entrance commemorates the tragedy.

    The Autostade was built in 1966 as an Expo 67 venue. It is best
remembered for its odd shape that allowed the stadium to be dismantled and
re- erected on a new site if required. The stadium was financed by donations
from the five major auto manufacturers in Canada at the time: American Motors,
Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and Volvo. It was the home of the Montréal
Alouettes from 1968-1976. The stadium was demolished in the late 1970s.

    The approximate land area is 78,000 m2 (839,500 ft2).

    Lachine Canal Sector

    The sector is bordered on the north by the Peel Basin, Mill Street to the
east, Bridge Street to the South and the railway and Wellington Street to the
West.
    Inaugurated in 1825, the Lachine Canal was built in response to the need
to bypass the rapids, which hindered navigation, and therefore trade, on the
St. Lawrence. The canal was instrumental in the expansion of navigation on the
St. Lawrence and in Montréal's urban and industrial development, serving as
Canada's main industrial centre for many years.
    At its peak, the surrounding area was home to factories, metal workshops,
breweries, printing plants, shipping companies, among other industries, as
well as the home of thousands of mostly Irish immigrant workers. The area's
industrial decline began in the first half of the 20th century. With the
opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, traffic dropped off significantly.
The canal was formally closed in 1970. In 1978, Parks Canada designated the
Lachine Canal a National Historic Site and proceeded with the creation of a
linear park along its banks.
    After the closure of the canal in 1970, the federal government
contributed substantially toward improving it and adjacent properties. Between
1997 and 2002, the federal government and the City of Montréal invested more
than $100 million dollars to restore the canal's locks, to rebuild the Peel
Basin, and to add new bridges, paths and green spaces. In 2002, the Lachine
Canal reopened for recreational boating and other pleasure craft.

    The Lachine Canal sector covers approximately 83,000 m2 (893,400 ft2).

    Canada Post Site

    The Post Office Site, located at 1500 Ottawa Street on the north shore of
the Lachine Canal, measures approximately 23.5 acres (9.5 hectares). It
includes a large-scale 96,599 m2 (1,039,781 ft2) vacant industrial/office
building that was constructed in the late 1970s and a parking lot. The
building covers nearly 40% of the site currently zoned for industrial and
commercial uses. In 2003, Canada Post Corporation vacated its mail processing
plant pursuant to its decision to move these operations to other locations
within the city. The building has been largely vacant since then.
    The Postal Site physically impedes public access to the canal, and severs
one end of the district from the other. Consequently, it not only limits the
recreational and tourism potential of the waterway, but also restricts new
residential growth and economic activity in the district.

    Project Considerations

    The site presents tremendous redevelopment potential to create a
neighbourhood offering a variety of housing forms with ancillary retail and
commercial uses. Upon redevelopment, the lands will become part of the
surrounding neighbourhood and will provide increased accessibility to the
Lachine Canal.
    The redevelopment of these lands may help further promote recreational
tourism and showcase its industrial heritage, and create public spaces for the
Sud-Ouest community.
    Currently, the site does not reflect the historical significance of the
location as the cradle of Canadian industrialization. The Post Office Site,
occupying almost 500 metres of canal frontage, rests on top of four basins,
which were filled in the 1960s and formerly used as loading docks.




For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Office of the Honourable
Lawrence Cannon, (613) 991-0700; Frédéric Baril, Office of the Honourable
Michael Fortier, (819) 997-5421; Gordon McIvor, Vice-President, Strategic
Acquisitions, Public and Government Affairs, Canada Lands Company, (416)
952-6111, gmcivor@clc.ca; Infrastructure Canada, Communications and Promotion,
(613) 948-1148


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