Filed under: op-ed
Joseph Baker, a past president of the Quebec Order of Architects and former director of Université Laval School of Architecture, established a community-focused architectural firm on Rue Barré to try to help Griffintown rebuild 30 years ago. Now, he’s appalled by what’s going through:
It is unfortunate that action had to wait 30 years […] Within comfortable distance of the city centre with its opportunities for employment and education, within walking distance of the Lachine canal and the Atwater market, Griffintown awaited a renaissance that did not depend on towers and big box stores.
How often must it be repeated that adequately dense development can be achieved without going higher than six or seven storeys, offering a variety of housing for families, singles and the elderly?
That is the kind of development that Griffintown needed. Montreal’s revised Plan d’urbanisme probably foresaw this type of development but it has been manipulated to allow a project with a totally different vision.
What was displayed at the public hearings in the Southwest borough was a project of an entirely different scale and nature… it presented a rather dated image, harking back to mega-projects of the 1960s like Cité Concordia that, had it been completed, would have destroyed the comfortable scale that Milton Park knows to this day.
Baker goes on to mention that the process that led to the OCPM came from the Tremblay Commission report, which launched Hizzoner’s career in municipal politics; furthermore, he says that since the project is so large and impacts more than one borough, it falls into a Category 3 project which by law must go through an OCPM process; the borough alone isn’t competent to oversee something of this magnitude.