By Joel Ceausu
The announcement last week of a planned mega mall at the junction of Highways 15 and the 40 elicited excitement from some quarters, concern from others. The notion of a 3 million sq.ft. outdoor mall in the vicinity of Rockland Shopping Centre and Marché Centrale is big news, even as multiple retailers are shuttering their operations.
For the Town of Mont Royal (TMR), it’s big news with big commercial revenues but for the project’s neighbours it’s not such a rosy picture.
“This project is planned in what is already a very heavily congested area,” says Côte des Neiges–Notre Dame de Grace Borough Mayor Russell Copeman Monday night. Throw in the Hippodrome development and its 3500-5000 housing units and it makes for even more traffic headaches.
“The Décarie and Jean-Talon intersection is one of the busiest in the city” said Copeman, the same with Royalmount and Décarie. His concerns were echoed by Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand and N.D.G. councillor Peter McQueen.
“I worry about the impact on local arteries like Queen Mary, Sherbrooke, Monkland and Victoria,” said Rotrand, adding that a care-focused mega project in an already congested sector “goes completely against our urban plan.”
“Clearly this project would stimulate a huge amount of traffic and will require a massive rebuild of overpasses which will be very expensive for the public.” Although on TMR territory, says McQueen, the project could have enormous effect on CDN-NDG, including Décor Décarie, Côte des Neiges Plaza and all the merchants on all the commercial streets in the borough.
McQueen said he was glad to hear Rotrand and Copeman speak out on the project and said he is very concerned “that it’s been linked with the Cavendish-Royalmount question. This is a definitive threat to our commercial streets,” he said, adding that he would seek a new vote on the Cavendish project at council in light of this proposal.
As for Rotrand, whose Snowdon district is adjacent to the proposed site, he says that CDN-NDG should not make it easier for the project to harm its interests. “This borough” he insisted, “should not cooperate.”
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