The sale of the Rosedale-Queen Mary United Church and the eviction of its current community tenants raises important questions about the future of our neighbourhood but also about the fairness of our current tax system.
More than a century after its annexation to the City of Montreal, NDG continues to be a thriving neighbourhood with a vital community spirit. Religious institutions of all denominations play an important role in creating that community spirit by providing spaces for their congregations to, well, congregate.
Over the years, institutions like Rosedale-Queen Mary United Church have also served as homes to a broad diversity of community groups mandated with supporting young parents, new immigrants, and other residents in need of assistance and support.
In recognition of the important role they play in our communities, religious institutions have benefited from preferential treatment when it comes to taxes at all levels
of government. The problem is, with declining church attendance for the past decades, many churches like Rosedale-Queen Mary United are looking to consolidate their congregation and liquidate unneeded assets.
Should they be able to sell to the highest private bidder after decades of municipal, provincial and federal subsidy? What impact will this have on the many community groups currently housed in increasingly precarious circumstances renting space in the basements of churches with dwindling attendance?
It is important that we explore these questions and seek solutions to prevent long-standing community institutions like Rosedale-Queen Mary United from becoming unwitting drivers of gentrification in NDG as well as other central neighbourhoods of Montreal.
Former mayoral candidate for Côte-des-Neiges-NDG