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 shelter for the homeless in the Rosemont district, which is already raising questions and concerns in the neighborhood.
The former Sainte-Bibiane church will host “services for people in vulnerable situations”, indicates a document annexed to the promise to purchase, in the amount of 2.5 million, made by the City to the Archbishopric of Montreal there at two months.
“Community service means a place where people in need can find respite and various social intervention services to help them in their reintegration journey,” we can read. “Examples of services that can be offered: accommodation, food, showers; psychosocial intervention; support towards housing; referral to various services (health, income, employment, etc.); social cohabitation with the surrounding environment. »
But now, some residents of the “surrounding environment”, near the intersection of Saint-Michel Boulevard and Dandurand Street, are concerned about the lack of information disseminated by the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie borough in a notice which was transmitted to them in recent days.
“The CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, in collaboration with the City of Montreal, the borough and the community, will define a project and designate a mandated organization to develop it and ensure its proper implementation. management,” indicates the notice to the neighborhood, which specifies that information meetings will take place in the coming weeks.
The need for accommodation for the homeless is glaring, since there have been increasing numbers of homeless people in recent years.
Why doesn’t the notice state that the church will become a homeless shelter?
“We cannot confirm the service that will be there for the moment,” replies the spokesperson for Mayor Valérie Plante, Simon Charron, adding that the services indicated in the promise to purchase are only examples.
No elected official was available to answer our questions on this subject.
“It is common knowledge that the City wants to acquire different sites to meet different needs. It’s a good transaction that meets the needs of Montrealers,” simply explained Benoît Dorais, mayor of the Sud-Ouest borough and responsible for real estate strategy to the executive committee, last Thursday, in response to a question from a citizen on the agglomeration council.
Citizens, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it is a polarizing subject, they said, fear that the project will bring problems of violence and drug addiction to the sector, after having discussed with residents of another neighborhood where a shelter has been set up.
But above all, they are worried about the fact that the project may have already been decided, without the population having had their say. “We want to be consulted, or if the project has already been agreed, we want to know the measures that will be taken so that it is integrated into the community. If integration is not done adequately, it is certain that cohabitation will be more difficult,” said one of them.
On a Facebook page bringing together Rosemont parents, however, the majority of comments were in favor of establishing a homeless shelter in the old church.
Social housing in the heart of the Plateau
At the corner of Marie-Anne and Saint-Dominique streets, the City purchased another property for 9.1 million last week, for social housing purposes. Between 58 and 75 apartments could be built after the demolition of the old garage which occupies the site, and after the decontamination of the soil.
This acquisition was made thanks to the right of pre-emption, which allows the City to replace the buyer of a property in which it has declared an interest, by paying the price of the purchase offer.
The municipal assessment of the three lots purchased is 3 million. Despite the difference with the purchase price, the City is convinced of having paid the fair price, which reflects the market value due to the potential represented by land in this central sector, underlines Simon Charron.
The Housing Department recently detected a stratagem used by sellers and potential buyers to inflate the sale prices of properties subject to the right of pre-emption, but verifications did not reveal any irregularity in this case.
The cost of demolishing the building, which should be done by the end of the year, is estimated at $500,000.
“The Environment Department judges that the potential for soil contamination is high due to the presence of a former mechanics garage which would have operated hydraulic oil lifting devices and painting and oil work for years. dent removal. An underground gasoline tank may still be on site and groundwater may be contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. Furthermore, given the year of construction of the existing building, it cannot be ruled out that it may contain materials of concern such as asbestos and lead paint which will have to be taken into account during a renovation or deconstruction,” indicate the municipal documents presented to elected officials during an extraordinary session of the executive committee.
After cleaning the site, the construction project will be entrusted to a housing NPO, concludes the City.
“While the housing crisis is hitting Montreal households hard, we are proud to accelerate acquisitions that help protect units from speculation. Thanks to this acquisition, units will remain affordable for the coming decades in a central sector of Montreal, close to services and public transportation,” said Mr. Charron.
With Philippe Teisceira-Lessard, The Press