The city of Montreal has just purchased two properties to carry out housing projects: it plans to build 58 to 75 social housing units on the Plateau Mont-Royal as well as a new homeless shelter in the Rosemont district, which is already raising questions and concerns in the neighborhood.
Published at 12:57 am. Updated at 05:00.
The former Sainte-Bibiane church will host “services for people in vulnerable situations,” says a document attached to the 2.5 million purchase promise that the city made to the Archdiocese of Montreal within two months.
“Community service means a place where people in need can find respite and various social intervention services to help them on their path to reintegration,” we can read. “Examples of services that can be offered: accommodation, meals, showers; psychosocial intervention; housing support; Referral to various services (health, income, employment, etc.); social coexistence with the surrounding environment. »
But now some residents of the “surrounding area” near the intersection of Boulevard Saint-Michel and Dandurand Street are concerned about the lack of information disseminated by the district of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie in a communication sent to them in recent days .
“The CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, in collaboration with the City of Montreal, the District and the Municipality, will define a project and appoint a contracted organization to develop it and ensure its proper implementation.” Management “says the notice to the neighborhood, noting that information sessions will be held in the coming weeks.
The need for accommodation for the homeless is glaring as there have been more and more homeless people in recent years.
Why doesn't the announcement say that the church will become a homeless shelter?
“We cannot confirm at the moment the service that will be there,” answers Mayor Valérie Plante’s spokesman, Simon Charron, adding that the services mentioned in the purchase promise are just examples.
There was no elected official available to answer our questions on this issue.
“It is common knowledge that the city wants to acquire different properties to meet different needs. “It is a good transaction that meets the needs of Montrealers,” Benoît Dorais, mayor of the Sud-Ouest district and responsible for real estate strategy, explained to the executive committee last Thursday in response to a question from a citizen in the agglomeration council.
Citizens, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it is a polarizing issue, said they fear the project will bring violence and drug addiction problems to the sector after speaking to residents of another neighborhood where a shelter was set up.
But what worries them most is the fact that the project may have already been decided without the population having had their say. “We would like to be consulted, or if the project has already been agreed, we would like to know what measures will be taken to ensure that it is integrated into the community. If there is not enough integration, living together will definitely become more difficult,” said one of them.
However, on a Facebook page gathering Rosemont parents, most comments favored establishing a homeless shelter in the old church.
Social housing in the heart of the plateau
Last week, on the corner of Marie-Anne and Saint-Dominique streets, the city acquired another property for social housing for 9.1 million. After demolishing the old garage on the site and renovating the land, between 58 and 75 apartments could be built.
PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS
Land acquired by the city on the corner of Marie-Anne and Saint-Dominique streets, on the Mont-Royal plateau
This acquisition was made thanks to the right of first refusal, which allows the city to replace the buyer of a property in which it has expressed interest by paying the purchase price.
The municipal valuation of the three purchased properties is 3 million. Despite the difference to the purchase price, the city is convinced that it paid the fair price, which reflects the market value, as the property offers potential in this central sector, emphasizes Simon Charron.
The Housing Authority recently uncovered a ploy by sellers and potential buyers to inflate the selling prices of properties subject to the right of first refusal. However, the checks did not reveal any irregularities in this case.
The cost of demolishing the building, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, is estimated at $500,000.
“The Ministry of the Environment believes that the potential for soil contamination is high due to the presence of a former mechanic's workshop where hydraulic oil lifting equipment, painting and oil work was carried out for many years. Dent removal.” There may still be an underground gasoline tank on site and the groundwater may be contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. “In addition, given the year of construction of the existing building, it cannot be ruled out that it contains questionable materials such as asbestos and lead paint, which must be taken into account during renovation or dismantling,” according to city documents submitted to elected officials during a special meeting of the Executive Committees.
After the site has been cleaned, the construction project will be entrusted to a housing construction NGO, the city concludes.
“As the housing crisis hits Montreal households hard, we are proud to accelerate acquisitions that help protect units from speculation. Thanks to this acquisition, the units will remain affordable in a central part of Montreal, close to services and public transportation, for decades to come,” said Mr. Charron.
With Philippe Teisceira-Lessard, La Presse