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Île-Perrot residents contest contentious condo project

By Jules-Pierre Malartre



PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

The 185-unit Luxeo Condominium development is pictured in the background of the site targeted for the new condo project – one area residents have repeatedly said they don’t want.


On Tuesday, March 16, the Town of Île-Perrot held its second public consultation for the proposed 170-unit Azur condo project on the former site of the former Vieux Kitzbühel restaurant but the meeting did not go as planned.

Hours before it began, a group of residents opposed to the project presented a petition to the city. The 174 signatories wanted to make their objections known in an unequivocal fashion since they felt the current format did not provide a forum where they could express their opinions.

“This is like a timeshares sales event without the free food,” a resident stated on Facebook very early into the presentation, echoing sentiments that had already been expressed by residents following the first consultation. Residents came to the second consultation expecting answers, but judging by the constant interruptions, they clearly felt they were not getting any.


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

The view from the townhouse of Île-Perrot residents Kim Thorne and James Doughty, and all their neighbours, will drastically change if the proposed nine-storey, 170-unit condo development project is given the green light to proceed on the adjoining property.


Loss of quality of life

Once again, the answer to the potential loss of sunlight was that the row of trees flanking the property was already blocking sunlight and that the condo building would only cut sunlight by a little more. Kim Thorne, whose home sits right behind said trees, disagrees.

“Not true whatsoever,” Thorne replied. “We have the sun on our deck, bright beautiful sun coming into our windows from that side until about 1:30 to 2 p.m. When they put that (building) up, we will lose the sun for sure. We bought our property knowing that the zoning for the property behind us was for two storeys. We bought the property for quality of life,” Thorne added. “They’re trying to tell us that our quality of life does not matter.”

Second traffic analysis

A second traffic analysis was also presented. It concluded that the Azur project would have very little impact on traffic. The city is sticking to its analysis of an additional 60 cars on the streets from the condos. A public bus does service that area, but there is no guarantee that future condo owners will use it to get to work, and if they do, some questioned if it will alleviate the current traffic issues.

“I took the bus at 27th Avenue to the train between 2012 and March 2020,” one resident commented on Facebook. “There were days when my bus was late because of weather/road work, or the traffic headed to the highway was backed up beyond 27th Avenue (almost 2 km away from the highway and train station), that I’d have to walk to the train. (An) 18-minute walk to the platform, faster than the cars were moving.”

Urbanism Director Émilie Turcotte-Calvé made a presentation explaining why the city was not prioritizing the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) area for densification. “We want to densify in the TOD areas when possible, but we can’t control the market. It’s a question of demands and needs,” she said. “Do you live on Nuns’ Island?” one resident interjected at the end of her presentation.



PHOTO COURTESY ZOOM

The March 16 public consultation on the proposed 170-unit, nine-storey Azur Condominium project in Île-Perrot did not result in a mutually accepted design by all parties involved and the subject will again be broached in April.


‘One-way conversation’

Moderator and Public Relations consultant Pierre Tadros tried to keep the meeting on track, but by the time it moved into the ‘Rapid-fire Q&A,’ the conversation took an even more disorderly turn. Attendees were not permitted to ask questions. Answers were only provided for previously submitted questions. An actual Q&A was scheduled at the end of the meeting and there were plans to divide the citizens into small groups for feedback ‘workshops.’

“It’s been an hour-and-a-half, and we only hear the city,” one resident said at the onset of the Q&A. “We try to participate, because we really expected a dialogue. But up until now, it’s only a one-way conversation and it really bothers me, because we are tired, and we haven’t started the workshops yet, and we have other preoccupations.” Another resident interjected that the meeting should have started with the workshops. “If some people were interested in listening to your promotional pitch, they could have stayed until 10 p.m.,” he added.

Opposition questioned

Tadros invited people to say why they were opposed to the project. A resident turned the question around and demanded why the city did not ask that question, in reverse, to the promoter. “Why do we need nine floors? Why can’t we respect by-laws and zoning laws? Why can’t you give access to the water to residents?” A resident added the promoter knew what the zoning laws were when he acquired the land. “It’s a question I’d like the mayor to answer,” another attendee said. “Why can’t we do a project that respects the established laws? Why do we have to have such a grandiose project that bothers us, the taxpayers, more than anything else?” Tadros said these were the right questions and then suggested the meeting move into the workshops. “We already expressed all that in letters, a petition, and all sorts of other formats to communicate with the city, but now I’d like to hear the mayor express himself regarding this,” the resident answered. “Why is Mayor (Pierre) Séguin not respecting his own zoning bylaws? That’s what we want to hear.”

Workshops questioned

Tadros answered saying nobody was disregarding by-laws, that the process was in consultation. He tried to go to break and then go to the workshops but attendees had other ideas. “It feels like a focus group,” a resident said. Tadros answered this was a proven process, but it obviously was not working for the attending residents.

“What does the city want?” one resident asked. Tadros answered the city wanted people’s opinions. “You already have 170 homeowners who told you what they think (referring to the petition). What I notice is that the city is coming to the defense of the promoter.”

‘We do not want it. Period.’

“I understand you’re paid to do your job, and you do it very well,” said resident Fernand Saey. “But the residents, we don’t want this project – is that clear enough? We sent a petition to the mayor and councillors, and we don’t want it. At this hour, close this meeting, and understand that we do not want it. Period.” When invited to explain why he was opposed to the project, Seay went on, “I have been living in Île-Perrot for 50 years. I was the Directing Manager of the Île-Perrot Caisse Populaire for 27 years. When I retired, I told my wife we would settle down. We elected to come live in ‘Les Jardins de l’anse,’ a nice quiet area where we can see the sun rise in the morning while having breakfast. If that is not enough (of an answer), I’m sorry – you don’t live on Île-Perrot.” Saey added it was not only a question of the view, as Tadros suggested in response to Saey’s comment. “Les Jardins de l’anse” is a haven of peace and tranquility with a beautiful environment, nice neighbours.” Other residents chimed in in support of Saey’s statement.



Abrupt ending

The meeting ended following a short pause. Tadros came back to announce that the workshops would be rescheduled. One resident expressed reservations about the workshop format, stating he did not want to take part in a focus group. Tadros said he was open to incorporate modifications into the process. The date of April 12 was suggested, but will have to be confirmed.

“Can the mayor be present at the next meeting so we can ask him questions?” a resident asked. “It is inconceivable that the mayor is not there,” another resident said. Séguin was on camera during the meeting but did not speak. Tadros once again stated this was not a political or partisan process. The discussions then came to an abrupt close.

“Mr. Tadros just flushed everybody,” one resident said, which served as concluding remark for the meeting.

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