The borough council meeting
Traffic plan, English school for Namur Jean-Talon
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 8 juillet 2010
The borough’s response to the report by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal concerning the master plan for the Namur Jean-Talon area was discussed and tabled at the June 28 council meeting.
Cathy Inouye of Project Genesis asked during the public question period why the borough doesn’t want to go further than 15% social housing inclusion, given that over 40% of households in Cote des Neiges-NDG live below the poverty line and have difficulty paying their rent.
Michael Applebaum replied that the project includes a lot of different pieces of land that are being developed with housing projects of less than 200 units. For those projects promoters are encouraged to give funds to the borough so there can be inclusion in the area. With the number of projects of less than 200 units, the promoters are all pushed to provide 15% inclusion, sometimes more, a figure which is comparable with other cities.
One of the key goals of the City’s inclusion policy is to try to meet the housing needs of current residents of Montreal so that they don’t move off the island. It is also intended to help seniors and residents living below the poverty line. The borough is aiming for a variety of housing.
The Project Genesis community organizer noted that with respect to land reserves, Bachand’s budget is hurting and that it could take some time to get enough units. However, she appreciated the efforts made by the borough. “I think it’s important to try to acquire land that can be saved for the time when units can be made available. A special envelope is important because we don’t want to compete with other boroughs that will have other issues involving social housing as well.”
Applebaum said when someone comes in to redevelop an area, the City is ready to invest heavily because of the future revenue that will be generated from this construction. The NJT area already has streets and sidewalks and needs less money for investments. “With Centre City we have set up a committee and we’re pushing in order to get land in that area so we can build the housing that is needed,” he emphasized.
Councillor Marvin Rotrand recalled that 60 years ago, the City bought up most of Barclay Ave., renovated it and resold it to housing cooperatives. The City of New York used that strategy and practically revitalized the South Bronx. “They bought up, renovated, and then gave people a share in their neighborhood by selling it back to them. They get their money back and recycle the money. It’s something we might be able to do,” he said.
The OCP endorsed the vision of the borough for NJT, which is extremely rare, according to Rotrand. Its greening project is unheard of in Montreal. The idea is to encourage people to live there without a car and use the metro. Some streets are narrower but pedestrians have more space.
As to the recommendation of closing Victoria St. north of Jean-Talon to create a green path, the OCP did not submit any opinion. Rotrand warned that there will be a hindrance to drivers and official complaints from the Centre City. A traffic study is planned.
Urban planning director Daniel Lafond pointed out that developing a viable living environment in an industrial sector not designed for that cannot please everyone. The four million square foot space changed, and so did traffic. “Kids are walking on narrow sidewalks along a busy transit road. The borough has to come up with a budget to conduct a traffic study for a safe and viable living environment,” he said.
Marvin Rotrand directed City Services to find out if the English Montreal School Board wants a school in the NJT area. “The reality in Quebec is that you need a critical mass of people who are eligible for English schools to actually have an English school, which is why anglophones tend to live in the same neighborhoods. This happens to be one of the neighborhoods, and English-speaking people might want to live there,” he emphasized.
The public consultation report published in March 2010 says that 44% of the 3200 housing units have been planned and a quarter of them have been approved. Affordable housing is in good position with 19%, but social housing is absent from the site.
The public consultation report is available online at www.ocpm.qc.ca