Griffintown’s citizen activists

This weekend in the Gazette, Steve Faguy spoke to a handful of the citizen activists who are casting a critical eye on the Griffintown redevelopment scheme, including Urbanphoto contributors AJ Kandy and Desmond Bliek.

Kandy, Bliek and their associates aren’t necessarily opposed to the project, they explain, but they want to make sure it’s pedestrian-friendly, well-integrated into the surrounding neighbourhoods and loaded with the amenities that a new neighbourhood of nearly 10,000 people will require, like health clinics and parks. They’re also concerned with the way the project seems to be evolving behind closed doors, with little specific information available to citizens. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Gazette: What are your concerns about this project?

Kandy: The scale of the project, the lack of information, the lack of transparency, the fact they seem a little bit biased toward building superblocks (blocks that are merged together, closing off a street) instead of rehabilitating commercial buildings. There’s also concerns about increased traffic flow. I’m worried that it’s not going to become an integral part of (adjacent neighbourhoods). I’m worried it will become a place you don’t want to walk to. If this is something that’s designed to bring in people from a 50-mile radius, then it doesn’t really address our needs.

Gazette: The development company says it has done public consultations. Why aren’t you satisfied?

Bliek: I’m sure there have been community meetings, but I haven’t heard of any of them. We’re a bunch of urban planning geeks. This is a group of people who would have seen something like this.

Kandy: I don’t see any visible signs they’ve been adapting the plans as a result of public consultation. Where are the schools? Where’s the CLSC? Where are the playgrounds? Where are the kids going to play? We don’t know the answers to any of these things. We’ve frustratingly run into no information wherever we go.

Read more on the Gazette’s website. You can keep yourself up to date with news on the Griffintown redevelopment at Kandy’s Save Griffintown blog.

One comment

  1. I wish them luck and it is an important cause, moreover they have many excellent ideas, respectful of the history of the area.

    However they will have to overcome their snobbish tinge “we aren’t knee-jerk anti-gentrification activists” if they want to make common cause with other community activists in southwestern Montreal, who have seen all too cruelly what gentrification can been for poor tenants and sometimes working-class householders – expulsion and a loss of community.

    Nothing at all against more affluent people who devote time, money and energy to restoring historic districts, but the life of a district requires its accessibility for its residents, and something more than a token number of social housing units (co-ops, HLMs, non-profit housing schemes).

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