Save Griffintown!

Public consultation at ETS tomorrow at 5:30pm by ajkandy
January 22, 2008, 12:55 am
Filed under: consultations, Devimco, ETS, Events, griffintown

A public consultation organized by RESO, the Regroupement économique et social du Sud-Ouest, and assisted by the Centre de consultation et de concertation, is being held Wednesday, January 23rd from 5:30 – 9:00 pm at the École de technologie supérieure, Amphithéâtre A-1150, 1100 Notre-Dame Ouest. (map)

There will be four discussion workshops:

  • Workshop 1: culture, heritage, tourism/recreation, design and architecture;
  • Workshop 2: employment and business opportunities;
  • Workshop 3: transportation and traffic;
  • Workshop 4: living spaces, urban space planning, public spaces and neighborhood services

We’ll be there covering as many workshops as we can.

To participate, indicate your choice of workshop and get in touch with Rachel Desrochers at 514-606-5884, or email her at Places are limited, so get in while the getting’s good.

1 Comment

One should take a look at the Devimcos’ frightening parking layout, covering almost the entire neighbourhood, including space underneath Peel, Shannon, Young and Smith streets, which seems like the REAL promoter’s development scheme (incidentally generating privatization of the public realm and demolition-“reconstruction” of buildings presently very properly occupied by dynamic businesses), ironically exactly like Quartier DIX30, where the only true and interesting piece of architecture – left out the pastiche dysneyland-like streets and façades – is the underground parking as well.

But who cares about trueness and architecture in this city ? Layers of history that gives the meaning and the uniqueness of a specific place, – and, consequently, its specific attractiveness and economic value ?

Instead, some advocate for cheap jobs, cheap condos, a generic environment with no interest whatsoever. They call it economic development, it is a loss of value, a spoiling of public assets, a third-worldization of our city. Why can’t we insert new buildings and development within – and between – existing buildings, onto existing blocks, like, say, in the Meat Packing District in New York ?

Smith Street (old Wellington) gives a magnificent view onto the old train bridge, giving the sense of the place in relation to the Lachie Canal ; instead of being enhanced, bordered with store fronts and properly restored, it will be closed off, replaced by truck docks and underground service access. The developer prefers to insert a winding “picturesque” commercial road cutting through existing blocks. How does this relate to or enhance the genius of this specific place ?

Shannon and Young streets provide alernative journey ways for the promeneur and magnificent dramatic views onto downtown towers and skyline; they’ll be closed off,giving way for privately owned and controlled indoor passageways leading to commercial malls.

The very fine grain of these unique, oldest Montreal urban grid, blocks and buildings will be lost for good. Pastiche displaced façades and buildings will make Montreal enter the new faked-urbanism era.

At least, iconic brutalist and modernist buildings or projects of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s -Complexe Desjardins, Habitations Jeanne-Mance, Maison Radio-Canada – were true to what they really were : a replacement of thriving lively and diverse neighbourhoods by bleak megastructures, a displacement of local activities and populations to the outskirts, and did not falsely pretend to recreate urban life or spirit.

50 years later, the urban scar left by the widening of Rene-Levesque (former Dorchester) boulevard and the demolition of adjacent buildings to make room for transportation is just starts to become properly lined up with buildings again. Guess what they want to do with Peel ? ENlarge it to make way for transportation – whether it be for a tramway, cars or a bike path doesn’t make a difference : buildings will still torn down. Are they going to rebuild better – and quicker – than Centre-Sud, Faubourg Saint-Laurent, Faubourg Quebec ? Aren’t there enough vacant lots to be built, or underused buildings to be rehabilitated – even in prime locations like the Old Montreal, even in Griffintown – before tearing down and making tabula rasa with of another entire neighborhood ? How much public money – government subsidies, expropriations, infrastructure – will finance that private initiative ?

Devimco did a great job in telking and trying to convince the most people groups and people they could. A much less convinving jog in respecting Montreal history, culture, and Montrealers who just love and inhabit their city.

They are really proud of their project. They should think twice, and maybe ask for a second – and independant – professional advice.

I live less than a five minute walk from Griffintown. I have lived and invested downtown for 25 years now. Guess what ? Will this project go on, I’ll move to the suburbs.

Comment by Joseph Armand

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