Montreal’s de la Commune service yard to be transformed into green neighbourhood

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says the project will help develop an area the city has had its eye on for a long time. Brayden Jagger Haines/Global News

A little sliver of Montreal near the Lachine Canal will be transformed as part of a larger plan to build a sustainable community in the area.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced the winner of the Reinventing Montreal award Tuesday as the team behind Demain Montréal, a collaboration between Pomerleau, Ivanhoé Cambridge and Cogir.

“By the canal we’re going to see this great project which will include housing but also co-working spaces, as well as a kind of public market,” she said. “Which is nice because in that area there is not so much to offer in terms of fresh food and places for people to go in and out.”

The De la Commune service yard, which is located between Old Montreal, Griffintown and the city’s downtown core, is at the heart of the project.

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The proposal includes redeveloping the land at the entrance of the Bonaventure Expressway into a sustainable neighbourhood. This includes building a zero-waste grocery store, restaurants, educational services, an urban forest with an orchard and a garden for local food production.

The project — which was among 15 submissions for the Reinventing Montreal award — will overhaul the area with a mixed-used green development that will help fight climate change, according to Plante.

She said she loves the idea of connecting public places with private spaces.

“This site, it’s been a long time we’ve been looking at it,” said Plante.

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Reinventing Montreal is part of a global competition spearheaded by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to transform underutilized areas into carbon-free and sustainable developments. A total of 14 cities — including Oslo, Chicago and Madrid — have chosen 31 urban spaces to develop.

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As part of the competition, the winning teams, which are composed of architects, developers and environmentalists, buy or lease the site to create their project.

John Rosato, the executive vice-president of capital projects at Ivanhoé Cambridge, described Demain Montréal as avant-garde when it comes to design and sustainability in the city.

“To attach ourselves to a project of this magnitude in terms of its carbon footprint is something that was very interesting to us,” he said.

The site itself is a bit challenging to develop but it’s attractive in terms of location, said Rosato. He estimates the project will be completed in about four years.

“This whole area is getting gentrified and urbanized relatively quick so we’re hoping in the next three to five years this will be another hub,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Plante administration also struck a landmark tentative agreement to acquire part of the land from the Molson Coors brewery in Montreal’s Centre-Sud neighbourhood. The site on Notre-Dame Street will be used to develop a green space and a mixed residential project, which includes social housing.

— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines


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