Overpass overhaul could affect derelict Pointe Claire mall

Overpass overhaul could affect derelict Pointe Claire mall

By Robert Frank

For about a decade, the vacant, graffiti-clad stores at 10 Donegani have blighted the gateway to Pointe Claire’s southeast.

According to Mayor Bill McMurchie, the property is held by the same owner who recently sold another Pointe Claire eyesore – the nearby derelict school at 10 Sources – to the local Coptic church parish which is awaiting the city’s approval for its plan to spruce up the site, after nearly a decade-and-a-half of decay.

“It’s a quality building,” he said of the small grocery-store and mall complex.

McMurchie acknowledged that the current owner is doing the minimum required to remove graffiti and trim grass to comply with city bylaws, “if you define minimum as very far down the scale.”

“We keep after them to do that, he declared. “Beyond that there is not much than what we already do, which is ask the owner to do his best.”

“Graffiti is a social problem not of his making, but if there is anything that can deteriorate a building faster than vacancy it is vacancy and graffiti,” McMurchie observed. “City bylaws require it to be removed, but that’s not an instant process. If that graffiti was on our house, we would remove it right away.”

“The city keeps the pressure on, but the owner does it at his own speed,” he concluded.

The Suburban obtained a 2003 marketing flyer offering to sell the mall together with Hydro Quebec’s adjacent former electrical transformer substation for $2.75 million.

A bridge too close?

The mall is located right next to the decaying Sources overpass, which Transport Quebec wants to replace.

Spokeswoman Caroline Larose refused to share the preliminary drawings, which Transport Quebec showed city councils last year.

Should the province opt for a simpler, straight design like the overpass at St. John boulevard, it could significantly change the layout of the surrounding streets and properties, including the derelict Donegani mall.

The current design wastes a great deal of adjoining real estate to accommodate access ramps. On the south side of the highway it diverts traffic a full two blocks away from Sources onto Lakebreeze. The north side includes several doglegs to accommodate highway traffic between Chester, in Pointe Claire and Prince Charles in Dorval.

“It’s too soon to talk about the acquisition of land or the impact on neighbouring residents,” insisted Larose in a follow-up electronic mail message. “Transport Quebec does not want to share its preliminary sketches during the feasibility study.”

“This is a first step and the final design might end up being significantly different,” she explained. “It’s better to have a clearer idea of what the project will entail before we share it with the public.”

Transport Quebec’s choice for a new Sources overpass design might intrude on the long-shuttered Donegani mall, for sale for more than a decade.
(Photo © Robert Frank)

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