By Michelle Pucci
With a condo project called l’Envol expected to be built right beside a park, Pas de tours dans mon cour launched a survey last month to get resident input in order to advocate against the project.
Ariel Roberge is part of Pas de tours dans mon cour, a citizen action group founded in 2013 before the last elections.
He says the group is concerned that there are no height restrictions for buildings along the river, which makes way for potential 60-storey buildings that can disrupt the skyline and human scale of the areas.
“We don’t want these glass houses built right by the waterside, in our backyards and next to the park where our children play, that would pretty much kill the spirit of the neighbourhood,” he said.
In 2009, a zoning change brought in an urban development plan (known by its French acronym PPU, which stands for Programme particuliers d’urbanisme) in Pont Viau and Duvernay. The objective of the PPU was to increase the density and define urban planning goals of a neighbourhood.
At the time, meetings between the city and citizens led to promises that a plot of land intended for two 30-storey towers would actually be made a park. In fact the land was going to be used for a condo project called the Commodore.
“At that point we got together as a group,” said Roberge. The group began investigating. They found that some transactions weren’t even following the PPU.
“The land that was supposed to be a park—that transaction [of the Commodore] was pretty much illegal,” said Roberge, who also says it was brought up at the Charbonneau commission.
After a large number of access to information requests, the group’s lawyer found traces of collusion and the city launched its own investigation.
Now, with l’Envol expected to go up by 2016, Pas de tours dans mon cour is mobilizing again. The citizen’s group says the project will cast a shadow on Henri Dunant park, and disrupt the view and scale of the area by the waterside. Roberge is also concerned with the legality of the PPUs, which he says removes the rights to oppose projects.
“We just hope these projects don’t start mushrooming up,” he said. “Once that happens the city can say they can build more, because they’ll be ‘harmonizing’ the neighbourhood.”
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