Save Griffintown!

Phyllis Lambert & Experts Holding Press Conference on Griffintown Right Now by ajkandy
April 15, 2008, 10:45 am
Filed under: Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment, Events, griffintown, media, news

From PR Newswire — Today’s press conference involving the Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown, Phyllis Lambert and several architecture and urban planning experts. Happening NOW.


Montreal, April 14, 2008 — Phyllis Lambert and Gérard Beaudet, well known for their articulate positions on the future of Montréal, will be speaking tomorrow at a press conference organized by the Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown (CSRG).

Both experts will be voicing their opposition to the hasty public consultation process put in place by the Southwest Borough (Arrondissement du Sud-Ouest) to study the Special Planning Program (SPP) which could affect a major sector of Griffintown. Phyllis Lambert and Gérard Beaudet deplore the municipal authorities’ lack of vision and agree that the SPP should be referred to the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM).

Vicente Perez, from the Coalition de la Petite Bourgogne, will also be present and Christopher Gobeil, spokesperson for CSRG, will preside over the Press Conference. A number of representatives from the professional associations, among them André Bourassa, president of the Québec Order of Architectes, will be in attendance.

Date: Tuesday, April 15 2008, 11am

Place: Darling Foundry, 745 Ottawa Street, Montréal

For more detailed information, please write to or call (514) 875-7644.


The press release will be available on the CSRG website immediately following the press conference.


Phyllis Lambert to Mayor Tremblay: Proper consultation process needed for Griffintown by ajkandy
March 23, 2008, 12:03 pm
Filed under: blogosphere, Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment, news

Read about this and several other recent news headlines over at the official CSR Griffintown blog.

Comments Off on Phyllis Lambert to Mayor Tremblay: Proper consultation process needed for Griffintown

On the Eve of St. Patrick’s … some Comments From Citizens by ajkandy

Here’s the first batch of a selected sampling of comments from people who’ve signed the Griffintown petition, asking for a proper, democratic oversight process instead of a “fait accompli.”

To sign the petition, click here.

Please forward the petition URL to friends and family — this St. Patrick’s Day, let them know that a big piece of Irish-Canadian history is set to be erased forever.


Le project Griffintown aurait un effet global sur la ville de Montréal et il faut l’analyser comme partie eventuelle du métropole.

— Kate McDonnell, editor, Montreal City Weblog

Griffintown is at the core of Montreal’s history. The proposed project does not reflect the scale and history of Griffintown and therefore is not in the best interest of the community. An alternate project which takes into account these two factors would receive popular support. It is the duty of the City of Montreal to ensure that an acceptable project defines the next 100 years of Griffintown history.

— Jeffrey Dungen, a resident of the Lowney Lofts

Montreal does not need another retail shopping area in this part of the city with yet more branches of the same-old, same-old retail outlets. The neighbourhood should fit into an overall plan for the whole city. I think a mixed-use neighbourhood should be a goal, with up-to-date small and medium-sized local businesses supporting the unique residential character of this well-positioned urban neighbourhood. Montreal-of-the-future could be a city of neighbourhoods each with a distinctive flavour – like Paris, NYC, Toronto.

— Daphne Mitchell

Montreal is a diverse city, full of energy and beauty. I would be very sad to see Montreal lose its charm because the city of Montreal is desperate for taxes. Any future proposals should be put to public consultation and have a very clear design and be able to address the issues of the future. The current project ignores the human scale and only promotes the automobile. This is outmoded and irresponsible.

— Clint Lewis

I am one of the many artists who rent studio space in Griffintown, and I worry about the lack of consultation in developing this historic neighbourhood.

— Margaret Griffin

While revitalization is essential and much needed in the Sud-Ouest borough, the “Bassins Peel” represents an area that is monumental to Montreal heritage and history. I judge, given the long standing heritage and tradition associated with this area, that there is no reason why a precautionary protocol consultation process should not be followed. In other words, there is no reason why the consultation process should exclude the OCPM. Whether it is their jurisdiction or not, the area is monumental to all Montrealers and a standard protocol fair consultation should be practiced to reflect Montrealers’ point of view.

— Jonathan Auger, student in Urban Planning, Concordia University

This area of the city has long been neglected and, given its historic roots, the incredible potential for development is undeniable. I fully support new developments: condos, mixed-use and commercial. But let’s ensure that these maximize the area’s historic structures and create a liveable vibrant community.

— Sophie Lorenzo, Senior Editor, Parkhurst Publishing

Do people visit London, Paris or even Quebec City for poor planning and non-descript condo buildings? No, they visit these cities (and many others) thanks to the abundance of historical buildings that create an ambience that is difficult to recreate with modern structures. Rather than preserve buildings and districts, this city wants to tear them down. When will our elected politicians realize the importance of our built heritage?

— Eliot Perrin, contributor to the McGill Daily

Although I don’t live in the area, as an Irish Canadian I have extreme concerns about destroying what’s left of the Celtic heritage of Griffintown.

— Joseph Donnelly

Save Griffintown! We would be losing so much and gaining so little from all of this nonsense.

— Lukas Glickman

There is a huge amount of empty space in that district that can be built on. The very few streets remaining with original Griffintown buildings, residents and businesses do NOT need to be razed. If the developer insists on having one massive empty space to build on before building anything, somebody should give him directions to Mirabel.

— Louis Rastelli, magazine publisher and author of the novel A Fine Ending

L’idée de faire cadeau de tout un quartier à un seul entrepreneur privé est profondement anti-démocratique. En plus, Montréal a aucune besoin d’avoir des magazins de grand surface au centre-ville: ils sont déjà assez pire dans le banlieux. Je ne suis pas contre toute développement, mais ça devrait être à l’échelle humaine.

— Patrick Hutchinson

You know when the Parc Avenue crisis happened, I asked the mayor to his face at City Hall, in front of the entire council and opposition, the following question: “What will you do to ensure a fair and democratic public consultation process for future municipal developments?” I also proposed he set forth a motion to redesign the terms and conditions of modern-day “Public Consultation”, and make these accessible for all to know their rights in order to avoid future confrontations of this sort, and implicate Montreal’s people where they are concerned most: in their own backyards! Mayor Tremblay replied that my idea was a good one, and that the executive council would get to work right away on a new mandate that could benefit all, not least because of the public transparency with which the matter would be treated. My proposition was supported additionally by Marvin Rotrand. What is happening in Griffintown clearly demonstrates that Mayor Tremblay did not keep his word, and worse, may have in fact lied to me. I am appalled and personally insulted. But it’s nothing compared with what Griffintown residents must be going through. Let’s stick it to the city again!

— Alison Louder, actress and organizer of the Park Avenue name change counter-petition

Changes of this dimension should be put to a referendum and several options should be investigated. The City is not handling this in a democratic manner. They are looking at this as almost a “fait accompli” and showing some “great project” without analyzing the human aspect or the economic losses to downtown for the economic gain of the developers and additional taxes to the City coffers. The historical factor of the area also has to be taken into consideration. Where are you Phyllis Lambert? We need your input and the input of like-minded people. Zoning changes should not be undertaken before conditional approvals are given and public consultations have been held. The benefits need to be fully evaluated. New area redevelopment should not be done at the expense of another existing one offering the same retail choices. Public low-income housing is a must in this project along with other apartments condos, offices and retail outlets. Unfortunately, they may be looking at an income generating project for the developers. So many other things need to be considered.

— Lyna Boushel

Notre belle ville de Montréal a une histoire écrite par les humains qui l’ont créée, et cette histoire se vit à travers les bâtiments qu’ils ont construit. Respectons cela, entre autres à Griffintown qui mérite mieux que des consultations hâtives pour être développé dans le respect du passé …

— Renee Wathelet

Le projet griffintown est un PPP (partenariat publique-privé) en planification urbaine. On devraient laisser les fonctionaires de la ville faire leur job – planifier pour le bien commun – au lieu de les sous-traiter aux promoteurs privés. Oui aux consultations véritablement démocratiques!

— Mélanie Ménard

I’m very disconcerted to see how the city of Montreal has gone about their plans to develop Griffintown. Allowing limited public input, and very quietly trying to grant one contracting group the privilege of developing this area is a stain on the administration’s record. I might add that their previous development of Quartier DIX30 is an eyesore in itself. Furthermore, the city of Montreal should ensure organic development in Griffintown that protects historical sites, and also ensures much greater pedestrian access, with more public transportation and less vehicle circulation. The current attempt at greenwashing and portraying their plans as environmentally friendly are sad, as their plans seem only likely to attract great amounts of vehicles to the downtown area.

— Tyler Palov

J’ajoute mon nom à cette pétition pour que Griffintown ne soit pas redéveloppé en un quartier commerciel désâmé et sans joie, auquel on aura greffé quelques logements à prix modique pour ‘faire bien’. Et puis, avons-nous besoin d’un autre centre commercial à Montréal, avec les mêmes boutiques et magasins? Eh bien non! Avez-vous visité le village au pied du Mont Tremblant? Une horreur! Vous êtes passé au Dix30? Un truc complètement inhumain qui ne correspond ni au climat Québécois ni aux besoins des habitants de la grande région métropolitaine! Et on laisse ce type de développeur dicter ce qu’un quartier appelé à devenir important à Montréal devrait devenir? Trêve aux faits accomplis et oui à un processus de consultation démocratique et transparent qui soit géré non par Devimco, mais par un groupe indépendant. Un bon quartier, c’est un environnement vivant, organique, original. Pas un truc parachuté de la tête d’un groupe de personnes qui s’intéressent avant tout au ‘bottom line’!

— Lysanne Larose

M. le Maire, ne repetez pas les debacles comme L’Overdale de Doré ou votre experience avec Parc Avenue… Consultez et soyez pratique et democratique!

— Ian Rogers

Let us all take a deep breath and get this right for once. What’s the hurry with a recession around the corner anyway?

— Bryan Soares

Can we raze the Olympic Stadium instead?

— James Manila

I just love this neighbourhood and I wish it could stay intact.

— Karine Fournier


More comments from citizens tomorrow!

Once again…to sign the petition, click here.

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. 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.

Comments Off on Fresh horses!* Griffintown hearings continue tonight, set to go all week

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, 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.

Reminder: Public Consultation continues tonight (in 15 minutes…go go go!) by ajkandy
February 27, 2008, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment, consultations, Devimco, ETS

Forgive me for not posting this earlier, but Real Life intervenes sometimes.

The question-and-answer phase of the public consultations on Griffintown continues this evening (in 15 minutes from now, actually) down at the ETS, corner of Peel and Notre-Dame. I was at the 2nd night, this time entirely devoted to continuing the questions from the public. I’ll write up a fuller report of those activities later.

People from the Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown will be there this evening — it was another practically full house last night and promises to be again tonight. If you have questions for the City and for Devimco, you can sign up at the door. There will likely be another supplementary night of questions if there’s enough people signed up.

After that, individuals and organizations can present comments and briefs stating their case to the borough committee on March 10th.

McGill’s Robert Mellin: Mapping Griffintown’s Future by ajkandy
February 21, 2008, 1:47 pm
Filed under: blogosphere, Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment, mcgill

Award-winning McGill Associate Professor of Architecture Robert Mellin writes a thoughtful guest post about keeping Griffintown semi-industrialized for the post-oil future, over at the “official” committee blog, CSR Griffintown. Check it out.

Comments Off on McGill’s Robert Mellin: Mapping Griffintown’s Future

The official CSR Griffintown site is live by ajkandy
February 20, 2008, 5:57 pm
Filed under: Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment

by A.J. Kandy

Purely because we’ve been covering the Griffintown project for so long now — since last September — this site has become a top hit for people searching for information on the project.

It’s purely a personal blog, shared by two people with an abiding interest in urbanism. However, I hasten to add that whatever is published here, and the snark with which it is occasionally presented, is strictly ours and ours alone.

Some of you who’ve been following the story, both here and via Spacing Montreal, have heard of this new Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown. It’s an organization of Griffintown residents and people from neighboring boroughs who are pooling their expertise in order to make their voices heard, and to aim for a more positive outcome than the one planned by the City and Devimco.

If you’d like more information on the Committee or to get involved, check out You’ll see more “official” postings there about the group, activities, information, press releases, and so on.

Meanwhile, back to posting here 🙂

Full disclosure: I’m a member of CSR Griffintown, but Steph, my co-author, is not.

Comments Off on The official CSR Griffintown site is live

Interviews and news by steph

by Steph Troeth

The McGill Daily has published a series of stories on Griffintown in their Housing special issue:

Flavie Halais from The Link, Concordia’s independent newspaper, reported on the first meeting of the Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown in her article “Taking Back Griffintown.

And just to emphasise that we have things to worry about, La Presse describes the new plans for development as a big business haven.

Comments Off on Interviews and news