• John Jantak

Registry will determine whether Vaudreuil-Dorion holds high-rise referendum


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

James Jones (left), Dino Pettinicchi, Josée Martel, Lara Pleasence and Chris Jones point to the site of a new high rise residential project on a Vaudreuil-Dorion map outside the council chamber at city hall on Monday, November 19. The five residents voiced their concerns to council about how the project will have a negative impact on the area.

A group of Vaudreuil-Dorion residents is closer to having a referendum held regarding a new high-rise residential project after enough signatures were collected on several area petitions. The city will now proceed to the second stage of the process – holding a registry signing to determine whether a referendum will actually be held.

A resolution was adopted at the Monday evening council meeting on November 19 stating the city will submit an application to go ahead with the registry. No date has yet been set, but 119 signatures are required to hold a referendum.

It won’t change the fact that four high-rises will be built on vacant land from 1500 to 1650 rue Émile-Bouchard. The referendum will, however, determine whether the four buildings will be of varying heights as proposed in an amended plan or revert back to their original 12-storey status.

‘Lesser of two evils’

It’s also meant to send a message to the city that the large scale of project isn’t appreciated by nearby residents who live in mostly two-storey townhouses and single family homes. “We’re deciding which of the lesser of two evils we’ll be stuck with, because we’re going to be stuck with it,” resident Dino Pettinicchi told The Journal after the meeting.

“I’m not opposed to a 12-storey building. Just don’t put it near the residential area we live in,” said Pettinicchi. Residents James Jones, Lara Pleasence, Chris Jones and Josée Martel were also at the meeting as a group of concerned citizens. They complained the traffic on Émile-Bouchard and some of the side streets will become worse.

THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK

Residents addressed their concerns and asked questions about a revised four-building high-rise development project during a public consultation meeting at Centre Multisports in Vaudreuil-Dorion on October 30. The project could include a combined 17 floor/14 floor structure that would become the tallest building in the city.

Huge traffic problem

“We have a huge traffic problem. There are two parks and two schools. The city isn’t fixing the traffic problem. They’re just going to make it worse. There are many kids there that walk to school each day. It doesn’t make sense. It’s too big for the area,” said Martel.

She said the streets are full of kids and traffic is incredible. “People who want to avoid Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes, they use our little streets. They don’t bother to stop because they’re in a rush. We have so many videos of kids in the parks and people just speeding by and not stopping,” said Martel.

“In the morning, everyone going to work thinks they’re in more of a rush and have to get to their destination ahead of the next guy type of thing. It’s ridiculous. In the school zone, people are impatient because they want to drop off their kids,” Martel added.

No traffic problem

Mayor Guy Pilon disputes the resident’s assertions that Émile-Bouchard is plagued with traffic issue. He said he’s been regularly monitoring the situation for several weeks and hasn’t notice any problems.

“There is no traffic. I’ve been there for the last month, two times a day. There’s no traffic in their sector at all. I spoke to people who live there. One lady told me she doesn’t recognize the district they’re talking about. She said it’s not like that on her street. It’s a dead place,” said Pilon.

The mayor said the residents are mostly opposed to the size and scale of the project and don’t want it in their backyard, even though the land has been zoned for high-rise construction for several years. There are three high-rise retirement facilities in the area – one 10-storey and two 12-storey buildings.

‘Won’t change anything’

As a concession to reduce a possible increase in the amount of traffic, the revised plans eliminated the commercial ground floor space. If residents vote against the revised plans, the commercial ground floor space in the original plans would be restored.

“Commerce brings in more traffic. Imagine what would happen if a McDonald’s or a dépanneur opened up tomorrow on the ground level? They’re blaming us for bringing in traffic but when we try to solve a problem, they make it worse but they don’t even realize it,” said Pilon

“They won’t change anything regardless what they try to do and we’ve told them this many, many times,” Pilon added. “They’re trying to find other things that have nothing to do with the project. This is what amazes me. I know they’re mad about some things, but they’re saying things that don’t exist. They’re trying to find an issue when there is no issue.”

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