Île-Perrot residents express opposition to nine-storey condo project
By Jules-Pierre Malartre
PHOTO COURTESY FACEBOOK
Some residents are protesting that the proposed nine-storey condo complex on waterfront property in the Town of l’Île-Perrot will obliterate their view of the sunrise.
On Tuesday, February 23, the Town of l’Île-Perrot held its first public consultation for the proposed Azur condo project to be built on the waterfront site of the former Vieux Kitzbühel restaurant.
The consultation broadcast over Zoom drew in approximately 50 residents. The event was open only to residents living in the affected and adjacent zones. The Journal was invited to attend, but was not allowed to ask questions. Mayor Pierre Séguin said a few words at the beginning of the meeting, heralding the online event as a new way for residents to participate in the decision-making process. Séguin stated the city would listen to what residents had to say. And while residents did indeed have a chance to express their feelings about the project, very little – if any reassurances at all – were offered to alleviate their concerns over the impact of the project on their quality of life.
Saving the trees
The project’s landscaping consultant made a point of saying the mature trees on the site, some standing as tall as 70 feet, were not going to be cut down, allegedly to preserve much needed green spaces, but when one attendee lamented the loss of sunlight by the nine-floor concrete building that would be erected behind her home, the answer she was given was that the view was already compromised by the row of said 70-foot trees. “The trees are leafy,” she answered. “They don’t hide anything during the winter. There will no longer be a sunrise for us. We will be facing a wall six to seven months out of the year,” she added regarding the value of trees versus a nine-storey concrete wall.
The meeting lasted over three hours, including a short pause between the various presentations and the question period. The presentations included an overview of the proposed architecture; a revised version of the original, full-length nine-floor design to a graded concept incorporating a lower, four-floor section facing Boulevard Perrot with a progressive rise to a nine-floor section at the rear of the property. The current design includes 170 condo units with underground parking. The project’s landscaping engineer then made a presentation stressing the importance of maintaining green spaces, but it is unclear how much more of the natural flora would be preserved beyond the row of mature trees flanking the property. A financial analysis was also presented, underlining the revenues generated by the higher density housing project; the idea was also floated that the added revenue would help curb any future tax increases for existing residents. Some of the attendees questioned that last assertion in the chat section of the Zoom platform, stating that taxes still went up following the construction of previous high density housing projects Lilo and Luxeo.
PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO
The condo project is being proposed on the site of the former Vieux Kitzbühel restaurant which was demolished in 2018.
A traffic analysis was presented by a consulting engineering firm. There seemed to be confusion as to the number of additional cars the 170-unit building would add to the already busy streets of Île-Perrot at rush hour. While the analysis pointed to only approximately 60 vehicles in and out of the condo site at any one time, the promoter stated that approximately 1.5 cars per condo unit were worked into the design. Many of the attendees expressed doubts in the chat section over the accuracy of the low additional traffic numbers floated by the consulting firm. Most residents of Île-Perrot who have a job off-island experience daily the difficulty of driving to work in the morning and returning home in the evening. The consulting engineer opined that the traffic light recently installed at the corner of 4th Avenue and Boulevard Perrot had alleviated the traffic problem, at least sufficiently so to ensure the added traffic from the condo project would not cause additional problems. The site is not within walking distance of most services, stores, and places of business, and public transportation in that area is still a far cry from being sufficient for residents to forego using their car to get anywhere.
One attendee commented on the absence of answers being provided by elected officials. The moderator, Pierre Tadros, a contracted PR consultant, fielded most of the questions, sometimes directing them to other consultants, the promoter, or city officials, but most often answering questions at length himself. It was not stated if Tadros was retained by the promoter or the city. “We hope to get more elected officials and less moderator,” one attendee said, interrupting one of Tadros’ protracted answers regarding the eventual second public consultation slated for March 16. Tadros replied elected officials were attending in observation mode only, since it was not a political process. The resident added he was hoping to hear from elected officials, about their own reservations about the projects, and what they felt the compromises were going to be.
Loss of quality of life
Residents who asked questions and made comments all seemed to share concerns over the loss of various elements of their quality of life. “I agree with all the other interventions (by the other attendees) regarding the value of the sector which will be lost – in terms of the view, etc.,” said Luce Laforest, a resident living next to the proposed condos. “My backyard will look out on the nine-floor building. I don’t see the ‘harmonious gradation’ (that the project engineer talked about). I find it difficult. The nine-floor building will hurt our quality of life.” Laforest added she had no problem with building homes in that area, but that she was against erecting a ‘wall’ that would destroy the landscape. She said she understood the need for the city to attract more residents and to increase revenues, but that this project will have a strong impact on her sector.
“When we looked at the development plan, 28th Avenue was mentioned as a bucolic area, with a forest and mature trees, and that this environment had to be preserved.” Laforest added that the location of the planned condo project is a waterfront area that used to provide residents access to the water since it was home to a restaurant. “Now we can kiss all that goodbye because only the owners will have access.”