Third Île-Perrot public consultation nixes condo project
By Jules-Pierre Malartre
PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO
Following three public consultations with area residents, the fate of the empty plot of land that once housed the Vieux Kitzbühel restaurant in Île-Perrot is still undecided but it won’t be containing a nine-storey condominium complex.
On April 12, the Town of l’Île Perrot held its third public consultation for the proposed Azur condo development project on the site of the former Vieux Kitzbühel restaurant. The consultation was scheduled following the precipitated ending of the previous meeting when attendees bluntly made it clear they were against the project in its proposed nine-storey, 180-unit form at the time, and that they would welcome a format that fostered more opportunities for a dialogue.
Mayor Pierre Séguin said a few words at the onset of the meeting, telling attendees that a final decision had not been made and that the council had not yet voted on the project.
Residents present their concerns
The city invited residents to submit memorandums ahead of the April 12 meeting. Residents were to present their memorandum during the meeting, followed by workshops. Resident Diego Lythgoe made his detailed presentation, using points under the city’s land use and development plan, the urbanism plan, as well as the MRC’s Plan Métropolitain d’Aménagement et de Développement (PMAD) to support his position against any derogations to zoning by-laws required by the Azur project. “We often worry too much about door count, taxes, and ignore the impact on our quality of life,” Lythgoe said.
Borrowing material from the city’s plans, Lythgoe stated that the one-hectare area around 28th Avenue was destined for public and/or commercial usage while permitting access to Lac St-Louis. Lythgoe reiterated that The Vieux Kitzbühel, while being a privately owned restaurant, allowed access to the water to residents.
The next presentation was made by Michael Buckley who represented the residents of Les Jardins de L’Anse, the townhouses immediately adjacent to the proposed Azur project. Buckley stated that the residents deserved better than the ‘rapid-fire’ answers that were offered during the March 16 consultation. “There was very little room for residents to express themselves,” he added. Buckley hoped everyone could turn the page, and he thanked the city for the new format of the third consultation which allows residents to voice their concerns.
Buckley brought up the urbanism plan which he said was, “…a crucial document for our argumentation.” He stressed the importance of By-law 664, which calls for a, “…true social contract,” between the city and the residents. He also restated the city’s objective to valorize, and desire to preserve, the insular landscape. Buckley underlined a number of other points in the town’s By-law 664 that echo points brought up by Diego Lythgoe in his presentation and that stress how the derogations to the city’s plans and by-laws required by the Azur project would be detrimental to residents. “Why can’t the Town of l’Île Perrot and the promoter redevelop harmoniously within the parameters listed here?” Buckley asked.
In conclusion, Buckley called for respecting the vision, the by-laws, the fauna and the heritage centre of the area. “I hope our position and our opposition to Azur are clear,” Buckley said. “Know that you are dealing with people who have greatly appreciated, and continue to appreciate, the environment that they are living in, and that they will do everything in their power to maintain its current quality.” Buckley added he would welcome for discussion any project which respected the established by-laws and plans.
Following a brief pause, attendees were broken into small groups to discuss the project. “We will be able to discuss the two broad possibilities open to us – do we keep the current by-laws, as demanded by the presenters; or is a three-floor residential project acceptable?” moderator and public relations advisor Pierre Tadros asked.
According to Tadros, a minimum of three floors is necessary to make the project interesting to the promoter. “The objective of the meeting tonight is to discuss possibilities beyond the urbanism plan,” Tadros said before breaking attendees into groups. He added that the promoter was in his full legal right to build a two-floor commercial project within the by-laws. He also said a two-floor commercial building would also be approximately the same height as a three-floor residential building, even though he admitted he could not verify that assertion.
Despite repeated discussions, a majority of the residents were not amenable to a three-floor residential project. A resident called out Tadros for introducing a bias into the question about the acceptability of three storeys by suggesting its equivalency (in terms of height) with a two-floor commercial building.
Mayor Séguin said that he was happy with the results of the consultation. “We will talk about it in council. I appreciated the two presentations. A report will be submitted, and we will see what comes next.”
During interviews with The Journal, some residents expressed gratitude for the public consultation process. Despite the apprehensions over the format of the first meeting, and the difficulties encountered during the second meeting, the overall mood during the third consultation was cordial and favoured open discussion, and some expressed any further discussions follow the same format. Some called the process an historical event as it had never been used in the past to solicit residents’ participation and were grateful to Mayor Séguin for the process. A final report is expected from the city by June 30.