Readers, thanks for supporting the movement to keep Griffintown’s fate in the hands of its citizens. At the moment it appears that Devimco’s plans have gone on hold, but the 1500 Ottawa (Canada Post) site development bears further watching. There’s only so many hours in the day I can devote to this project, and by this time next year I may no longer even live in this neighborhood. I’ll be watching from a distance, but I probably won’t be as closely involved from now on — barring any truly boneheaded plans, that is. In the meantime, I urge you to stay involved with the official Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown, now located at their spiffy new site, http://griffintown.org.
Filed under: griffintown | Tags: Concordia, debate, discussion, griffintown, montreal, panel, public
The School of Community and Public Affairs at Concordia University is presenting a panel discussion/debate on The New Griffintown.
Panelists listed are:
Claude Beaulac, Executive Director of the Ordre des Urbanistes du Québec
Pierre Richard, Co-president, Regroupement Économique et Social du Sud-Ouest (RESO)
Michel Leblanc, President and Executive Director, Chamber of Commerce of Montréal
Grace Barrasso, Consultant and specialist in sustainable development, Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown (csrgriffintown.wordpress.com)
Moderator: Madeleine Poulin, Journalist, Radio-Canada
Tuesday, February 10th 2009
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Samuel Bronfman Building, 1590 Dr. Penfield ave. (Corner Côte-des-Neiges)
For more info please contact:
(514) 848-2424; ext. 2575
Filed under: Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment, consultations, democracy, griffintown, petition | Tags: democracy, griffintown, petition, ThePetitionsite.com
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.
Filed under: consultations, Devimco, ETS, griffintown | Tags: consultation, Devimco, griffintown, public meeting
By Stephanie Troeth
Around 100 people attended the Projet Griffintown public meeting with developers Devimco and their associates yesterday evening at the École de technologie supérieure – appropriately, just at the edge of the area in question.
This supposedly-public meeting was not very well advertised beforehand; we were only present by the effort of community organizers who’ve been meeting with citizen groups, our network of blogs, through email and word-of-mouth. The developers admitted this was their first experience with public consultation; it seems they didn’t quite grasp that a good old traditional public forum is a responsibility to citizens, not a favour. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, and to be honest, we were skeptical: How much more could Devimco tell us, that wasn’t buried under corporate NDA?
What was entirely refreshing about the public meeting was…the public itself. The meeting attendees came armed with information, perspective, insight and concerns. Comprising architects, artists and artisans, educators, community organizers, anti-poverty advocates, residents of Griffintown and its periphery, the audience was intelligent and relentless in demanding answers from Devimco.
We were heartened by the questions everyone asked: Why are there no schools? What about recreational space for families? Are the height of these buildings legal? What about the streetscape? Can we expect a diversity of commerce and business development?
Noisy, heavy trucks already diminish the quality of life on Notre-Dame; would this mega-project make it worse? Would there be coordination with the adjacent housing plan for the former Canada Post facility? What’s the percentage of affordable housing? This quartier is home to dozens of active artists – why weren’t they consulted, and where would they go? What context will be given to heritage buildings? How do we know this isn’t going to be another Dix30 shopping mall?
A major point of concern was the fact that Project Griffintown is going to take 10 years – long enough for market crashes, investor pullouts, and political issues to potentially scuttle the project or leave it half-built. We were assured that the investment was completely private, thereby protecting it from market flux. (There wasn’t time to ask: can we truly be assured of this when the United States is currently suffering from a housing crisis?)
The answers from Devimco and the meeting facilitators were generally positive. We see hope, a promise of true urban renewal that gives reasonable consideration to good street design and city life, with due diligence given to cultural and architectural heritage. Yet, the public left with a niggling sense of unease. This is one very fragile project that needs to be nurtured and cultivated with utmost care. Despite all the “right things one must do” (or in the tone of Devimco’s stance, “what the city told us to do”), we worry that the developers don’t understand the spirit of Griffintown, and that sincerity and soul must go into rebuilding this once vibrant neighbourhood. That it’s not the bricks and mortar and layout proportions that make a successful quartier, but an understanding that it is a legacy for generations of Montrealers to come.