Rue Ann looking north, January 2008
Griffintown has graced the pages of the local media a great deal over the last couple weeks. Here is a rundown of many of the stories concerning the neighbourhood and Devimco’s proposed redevelopment:
Jan. 9: La Presse reports that the Conseil du patrimoine is deeply critical of the “Village Griffintown” project. They’re worried that a development that is to be carried out by demolishing all but a few historically significant buildings may completely erase the area’s Irish and industrial heritage that goes back well over 200 years.
Jan. 10: The Gazette accuses Devimco of conflict of interest due to their pushing for a rail link between downtown to the South Shore which would have stops in the Griffintown development as well as near Devimico’s Dix30 shopping centre in Brossard. Furthermore, there is some major overlap with Devimico and Bombardier who would likely be building the trains and trams that would go through the redeveloped Griffintown. Neath at the Walking Turcott Yards blog gives his opinion on the whole debacle. La Presse also reports that Devimco is surprised that the Conseil du patrimoine takes issue with their project and more criticism of the project is given by city councillor and leader of Projet Montréal Richard Bergeron who asks why there are no provisions for a school in the plan, despite the fact that 28 000 new residents will be injected into the area.
Jan. 11: La Presse writes a piece which Kate over at the Montreal City Weblog aptly describes as having “the flavour of bending over backwards to be fair and thus succeeding in saying nothing much at all.”
Jan. 20: The Gazette reports that the city plans to put 20 lots at Peel and Wellington on reserve which would give it the ability to expropriate the property and hand it over to Devimco if need be. The reserve would “prevent owners from building, improving or adding onto their properties, though they can do repairs”. The reserves would be valid for two years but could be renewed for another two. Business owners are unhappy about the total lack of consultation and homeowner Chris Gobeil calls the whole arrangement “Stalinist”.
Jan. 21: A headline in yesterday’s Le Devoir declares “pas de tramway, pas de projet”. Devimco has pledged ten million dollars towards the construction of a tramway that will run down Peel through Griffintown before making its way into through the Old Port. They’ve given the city 24 months or the deal is off the table. Serge Goulet, president of Devimco, has also specified that whatever is built, must be “sexy”.