Residents, community groups call for inclusive Blue Bonnets project

Click to play video: 'Residents want to be involved in plans to revamp Montreal Hippodrome' Residents want to be involved in plans to revamp Montreal Hippodrome
WATCH: Montreal's hippodrome, also known as Blue Bonnets, is one step closer to becoming a new urban neighbourhood. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, residents and community groups say they want to be involved before the city starts drawing up plans – Apr 10, 2018

As construction workers prepare to demolish the Montreal Hippodrome, local residents and community organizers are reminding the city to include them in the project.

“What we want is a development that is in the public interest, that reflects the community that lives in Côte-des-Neiges,” said community organizer Claire Abraham, from Project Genesis.

Last June, the province announced it had ceded the Blue Bonnets land to the City of Montreal, with then-mayor Denis Coderre announcing plans for a 5,000 unit housing development.

READ MORE: Montreal’s Hippodrome housing development moves forward

Community groups said there is a growing need for social housing in the borough and they want to make sure the new administration incorporates this into the project.

‘What we want is at least a minimum of 2,500 social housing units, which represents the number of people who are currently on a waiting list for social housing in the neighbourhood,” said Abraham.

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READ MORE: Project Genesis pushes to replace Montreal’s derelict Hippodrome with social housing

The city said it’s sticking to its promise to include social housing units, but insisted it’s still too early to announce exact numbers.

“We promised 20 per cent social housing, 20 per cent affordable housing and 20 per cent for families,” said Executive Committee Vice-President Magda Popeanu.

“It will be [policies] we will put in place in next months, next years.”

Snowdon City Councillor Marvin Rotrand agreed there needs to be a proportional amount of social housing, but pointed out it’s vital for the city to hold public consultations before finalizing any plans.

READ MORE: Upcoming Hippodrome housing project renews hopes for Cavendish extension

“You can’t just impose something or consult at the last minute and say, ‘we’re going to do what we want, but we’re going to consult you in advance.’ People don’t buy into that,” he told Global News.

“For something like this, there’s got to be a pre-consultation — what are you expecting out of this site, design plan and a final consultation. “

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