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Îlot Wanklyn Real Estate Project: The Borough Accepts the OCPM's Recommendation and Asks City Council Not to Adopt the Project

10 février 2016

Montréal, le 10 février 2016 - Having read the report from the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) on the îlot Wanklyn real estate project, the Borough of LaSalle is announcing that it accepts the essential points in the recommendations contained in this report. LaSalle's elected officials are therefore asking Montréal City Council not to adopt the bylaw authorizing this project. 

This project was the second one submitted by the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ and its partners for this former industrial site. It provided for the construction of 10 buildings around a park, grouping together 119 community housing units, 230 units under the first-time homebuyer's program and 437 rental units. Nearly 270 people took part in the information session and the presentation hearings. The Commission received a total of 42 presentations: 37 written and 5 oral ones.

Borough Mayor Manon Barbe took note of the opinions expressed by the participants and the findings of the commissioners: "We said that we wanted LaSalle residents' opinion and we got it! The majority of the participants who expressed their views said three things: that the height and density of this project didn't please them at all, that they nevertheless have nothing against social housing and that everyone agrees on the importance of developing the Wanklyn site. Well, for the councillors on my team and for myself, the message has been received!"

The Borough Mayor is delighted with the number of participants in this consultation and the quality of the opinions and presentations. "During the consultations for the project in 2012, only residents on nearby streets had aired their opinion. To judge this new proposal submitted by the real estate developer, since it involves a large-scale development, we wanted all LaSalle residents to have the opportunity to be heard. With the OCPM's consultation process, we not only expanded the audience, but we also expanded the debate! In light of the analysis made by the commissioners and in reading the majority opinion of the residents who expressed their views, I am announcing that we are asking the members of City Council to follow the OCPM's recommendation and not to adopt the project."  

The Borough makes commitments
As soon as they received the OCPM's report, the Borough Mayor and the elected members of her team decided to accept the essential points of the recommendations contained in the OCPM commissioners' report, to ask City Council not to adopt the bylaw authorizing this project and to agree to subject any new projects for îlot Wanklyn to a public consultation among residents and local organizations.

An initial, conclusive experience
The study of the Wanklyn project by the OCPM was also a first for LaSalle. Ville de Montréal's Charter provides, in fact, that all large-scale real estate projects whose impact goes beyond the scope of traditional public consultations may be referred to City Council, which entrusts the public consultation to the OCPM, an office that is absolutely neutral and independent of City Council.

"By completely removing ourselves from the process and entrusting it to the OCPM, the councillors on my team and I wanted to depoliticize this consultation," pointed out the Mayor. "Some people accused us of a lack of transparency, because there is no provision for the referendum process in this mechanism, but I think these criticisms were brushed aside by the professionalism and serenity that characterized this process. I'm sure that everyone appreciated the seriousness of the commissioners' approach and the vast opportunity citizens had to express their opinions."

In fact, during consultations conducted by the OCPM, all documents relating to the project studied are public and may be consulted on the Office's Internet site. This includes documents submitted by the real estate developer or the Borough, but also the presentations submitted by the residents, and even the transcript of the evening information sessions and the opinions expressed by the participants at the opinion hearings.

"But above all, with our acceptance of the essential points of the OCPM's recommendations, the debate over the appropriateness of referring major projects to this authority is now closed," added the Borough Mayor in concluding her remarks.