Save Griffintown!


Libre-Opinion: Raphael Fischler by ajkandy
March 10, 2008, 3:58 pm
Filed under: op-ed

Not sure if I linked this Dec 17th Le Devoir op-ed from McGill urban planning professor Raphael Fischler, previously, but here it is.

To me, it seems as if an overwhelming majority of the city’s prominent architecture educators, architects and urban planners are against Devimco’s plan. That’s got to mean something.

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Fresh horses!* Griffintown hearings continue tonight, set to go all week by ajkandy

The comments-and-briefs-submitting period of the Griffintown consultation process kicks off tonight at 7pm, and with the huge number of respondents set to offer their views, I estimate that instead of wrapping it up in one or two nights, it could stretch to the end of the week or further. Now’s the time to get your word in, or simply observe the process.

The Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown will be presenting second-up this evening. They’ll be submitting a brief including both a written critique of the proposal, as well as a vision statement for a more sustainable, organically developed and locally-focused community. The brief will be available on their blog after this evening, I believe.

The Committee’s also going to stage a press conference at 6:15 PM in front of the ETS, and will be bringing a calèche and horse to underline the importance of the Griffintown Horse Palace as a living legacy of the area’s Victorian industrial past. They’ll also be asking attendees to sign their petition asking for a better, more democratic process for the Griffintown project.

In other news, I was photographed, along with Chris and Judith Gobeil (and their dog, Andy) down at Saint Ann’s Park, with the Five Roses sign in the background, for the cover of the Montreal Mirror. The story’s being expanded so it’ll appear the week of the 20th.

Chris was also interviewed on CBC’s Radio Noon today, helping to explain how we are yes-for-dense-development, but no-on-oversized-shopping-centres. CBC.ca is also working on a more in-depth story for their online news division.

See you at the ETS tonight!

*A random, but appropriate quote from Brian Blessed as King Richard, in the first series of Blackadder.

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News Roundup, and Sign The Petition! by ajkandy

More Griffintown media mentions:

  • Eric Clement in La Presse reports that the Sud-Ouest borough’s star team of citizens, urbanists and architects — their Consulting Committee on Urbanism (CCU) — voted unanimously against the Griffintown project as proposed by Devimco — but their report was silenced.
  • Charles Poulin covers the still-unanswered questions in the Journal de Montreal.
  • Stephane Baillargeon, writing in Le Devoir, discusses the possibility of future economic collapse affecting Projet Griffintown.  (The question in the article attributed to Hélène Dansereau is actually the question I asked (on Peak Oil). The city’s urbanism guru, Luc Gagnon, blanked on that question and punted it over to Serge Goulet, who repeated his stump speech about LEED certification until I pointed out that that’s not what I asked, and then the moderator called time on things.)

If you haven’t done so already, read and sign the petition for a proper democratic process on Griffintown. If you already have, please pass the link along to colleagues, students, teachers, friends, and family! Remember…your neighborhood could be next!



Sign the Griffintown Petition! by ajkandy

Griffintown’s 200 years of history are at stake. Whatever gets built there, we will have to live with it for the next 100 years. However, the city, by using the Plan particulier d’urbanisme (PPU) tool, has limited public participation to a mere 8 hours or so of PR spin Q&A sessions; the last avenue available to us at this point is to submit comments and briefs on March 10th-11th.

Will briefs and comments have any impact on whether the project goes ahead, or is significantly modified? Do we get any say on the Plan d’intégration et d’implantation architectural (PIIA) if it goes forward? We have no assurances on any of these.

Make no mistake, those of us who are involved with various community organizations (like the Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown) are indeed writing up our briefs and comments on the plan. But we despair when we see that, if proper public consultations channels had been used, we might have had the option of more public debate beforehand, a plan defined before developers were invited to submit projects, and a citizen referendum on the whole thing.

The borough mayor, Jacqueline Montpetit, admitted freely that the choice of a PPU was a political move by the central City administration — deployed both to allow for expropriations — and, it would seem, to bypass the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) to limit citizen participation and debate on the subject.

If this goes through, it sets a dangerous and undemocratic precedent; What’s to stop the city from using PPUs to expropriate landowners, and turn their land over to private developers, anywhere else? (Well, presumably not in Outremont, but I can imagine this happening in Ville St-Pierre, Little Burgundy, St-Henri, Verdun…)

If you agree that this is a bad thing — and that the city should stop its current process and restart the Griffintown development using proper city and citizen channels — read the petition here at ThePetitionSite.com, and sign it.

You have the option to not display your name online, but your name will appear in the final petition presented to the City.