• John Jantak

Work begins on new high-rise apartment development in Vaudreuil-Dorion


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Construction work begins to build four new high-rise apartment buildings on the south side on Rue Émile-Bouchard behind the Centre Multisports in Vaudreuil-Dorion on November 6.

Mayor corrects referendum misconceptions

Land clearance and ground breaking work began on Monday for the construction of four new high-rise apartment rental buildings in Vaudreuil-Dorion. Heavy construction equipment including a pile driver began prepping the area on the south side on Rue Émile-Bouchard behind the Centre Multisports.

The sight surprised some area residents who attended a public consultation meeting before the start of the regular council meeting at city hall on November 5. They asked Mayor Guy Pilon whether work on the project was actually beginning.

The mayor replied the preliminary phase to prepare the land has started. The news perplexed some residents because they assumed if a referendum is held to determine the fate of the revised construction plans for the site, the project would be halted.

One or the other

Not so, said Pilon. If residents manage to get 12 names on a petition, the city would hold a referendum to determine whether the revised project should proceed or be scrapped. If citizens vote against it, the original development plans will be revived.

Pilon, and other municipal officials including District 3 Councillor Jasmine Sharma and Chantal St-Laurent from the urban planning department, have been trying to correct misconceptions people have about the empty plot of land zoned for four high-rise buildings.

Over 400 rental units

The full scope of the current project was explained in detail during a public consultation meeting at the Centre Multisports October 30. A slide show presentation featured four two-tiered buildings. The first structure would have 17 and 14 floors and be built next to Émile-Bouchard, making it the tallest building in Vaudreuil-Dorion. The adjacent two-tiered building would have nine and six floors.

The second pair of adjacent buildings would have 15 and 12 floors, and eight and six floors respectively. The taller building would also be built next to Émile-Bouchard. All four buildings would have 402 rental units. The descending height was made to provide as much unobstructed sunlight as possible to residents living in the hockey player sector at Château de la Gare, just south of the new development.

No empty field

“If they vote against it, it does not mean the land will remain an empty field. The original plans have already been accepted. Work has started. If people are going to vote in a referendum, it’ll be about the height of the buildings and not the number of apartments,” Pilon told The Journal during a telephone interview on November 6.

The only revision to the original plan was to change the ground floor zoning from commercial to residential to minimize the amount of vehicle traffic commerce would bring into the area, said Pilon. The change was adopted during the Monday, November 5 council session.

With land becoming scarcer and as more people move into Vaudreuil-Dorion and neighbouring off-island municipalities, Pilon said the scale of its new high-rise development projects near the Vaudreuil commuter train station reflects its commitment and necessity to concentrate these types of buildings close to public transit option in accordance with Transit Oriented Development (TOD) requirements.

Population density concerns

Not everyone is pleased with the new project. Rany Freg, who lives in the hockey player sector at Château de la Gare with his family, just south of the new development, is worried about the possible negative effects related to increased population density.

“When we moved to Vaudreuil-Dorion and the area we’re living in right now, it’s because there was less traffic and people and it’s safer for the kids because the school is not far from where I’m living. The city is building more houses in the area every year which is normal,” said Freg. “But we’re talking about a big project. It raises concerns.”

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