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Major plans for St. Jacques
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 1er avril 2010
Photo Sarah Leavitt
With the potential increase in population due to the MUHC, the borough could add 500 new residences in the sector.

With the construction of the McGill University Hospital Centre (MUHC) in the works and the rebuilding of the Turcot Interchange, a facelift for the St. Jacques sector is sorely needed. The urban planning department for the CDN-NDG borough has begun preliminary studies of the area east of the Décarie Expressway and plans to create a full-fledged development project much like what is currently being completed at Namur–Jean-Talon.

The project began in 2005 but with the uncertainty of the MUHC as well as the Turcot redevelopment, Daniel Lafond, the director of urban planning at the borough, said it was necessary to pause studies until more concrete plans were in place.

‘We weren’t comfortable in pursuing the development of studies for the sector St. Jacques [in 2005], because we did not know the impact of all these things,” he said. “So instead what we did was analyses on the potential of development in St. Jacques. What we discovered was that we could add 500 new residences in the sector. These could potentially generate $200 million in private investments for the construction of new residences—new condos or social housing in St. Raymond.”

With the potential increase in population due to the MUHC, the idea is to create two “ zones ” within the area. The section of St. Raymond, from the Décarie to Cavendish Boul., will be transformed into a residential area. Lafond says the businesses there now will be moved to east of Cavendish.

“It will allow us to better protect the falaise St. Jacques—[a green space on the south side of St. Jacques],” he said. “It will solve all the problems we have with the businesses which dump dirt and garbage over the falaise.”

The businesses moved will create an industrial and commercial area west of Cavendish Boul.

“This will mean bigger sidewalks on St. Jacques,” Lafond said. “We also envision creating a better ambience a bit like Monkland Ave. on Upper Lachine Rd—terraces, businesses, restaurants.”
While plans for the project are still in the preliminary stages, Lafond says it will run much like the development of Namur­–Jean-Talon. Consultations with the local businesses and population is key.

“All the success of the Namur–Jean-Talon project is primarily related to the way we consulted the population,” he said. “We might even go further with the consultation of the population of St. Raymond.”

Lafond notes, however, that much is dependent on the development of the MUHC and the Turcot Interchange. More studies and consultations will be needed once these projects are more concrete. The project idea is there though and citizens of the area should expect to see tangible plans for development by at least 2011.

[Sarah Leavitt]

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