Major ‘mixed community’ housing, economic project planned for Wellington Basin

Click to play video: 'Major housing project planned for Wellington Basin'
Major housing project planned for Wellington Basin
WATCH: The federal government, through Canada Lands, is beginning to hold consultations on the future of the Wellington Basin. The area has been largely abandoned in recent years but now there are efforts underway to turn it into a brand new neighborhood. But some advocates want it to feature entirely social housing. Phil Carpenter reports – Apr 9, 2024

A development plan is finally in the works for the Wellington Basin which has been largely abandoned in recent years.

The area is former federal port lands on the south side of the Peel Basin bordered by Mill and Bridge streets along the Lachine Canal. The 8.5 hectares that Crown corporation Canada Lands acquired from Transport Canada are slated for development in an area of crumbling infrastructure.

“The aim is to create a mixed community that will provide space for economic development, will provide housing and will reintegrate these former port lands into the city,” explains Christopher Sweetnam Holmes, senior director of real estate, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, for Canada Lands.

Of the 2,800 new homes to be built, 1,000 will be affordable and social housing. The former Wellington Basin, from which the area gets its name and most of which was filled in decades ago, will be excavated.

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“We’re going to be able to create a natural swimming basin there with a beach,” says Sweetnam Holmes.

Advocates believe the area, which will end up being an extension of Pointe-Saint-Charles and Old Montreal, has a lot of potential and say the project will meet certain urgent needs.

“I think it’s the opportunity for affordable housing that I think is the most important thing,” says architect Ron Rayside of the firm, Rayside Labossière. His company was one of the groups consulted about the project. “The second thing is making a real neighbourhood that makes sense.”

Montreal independent city councillor for the area Craig Sauvé has some questions about the project, though, given the current crisis with housing affordability.

“When we talk about some parts of this project being affordable housing, based on 80 per cent of the median (house) prices around here, there’s a lot of expensive houses around here,” he reasons.

Sauvé believes that will be the concern of many in his community.

“They would like to see 100 per cent of the public land remain public for public use, such as public housing.

Canada Lands didn’t specify how much of the 1,000 affordable units would be social housing. Construction for the five-year project is expected to start in 2025.

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