The plan to turn the site of the old Pioneer restaurant in Pointe-Claire into luxury condominiums has moved closer to reality, but many locals aren’t happy.
Earlier this week, the iconic Pioneer sign was taken down and replaced with an ad for the new condo development that will substitute it.
“It’s typical, it’s overbearing, its in your face, its provocational — like everything else in the process, it’s designed to overwhelm,” said Timothy Thomas, who owns a nearby antique shop, about the new ad.
The new development will include four commercial retail units and 13 residential condominiums. The latter are starting at $785,500 for a two-bedroom condo with 10-foot ceilings and underground parking.
The plans include luxury amenities such as a shared wine cellar, a private car wash and a dog spa.
Businesses and residents have led an ongoing campaign opposing the project for months, arguing the neighbourhood is no place for such a development.
“Right now, it’s a funky little niche market for people coming from the city to get a sort of lake effect, a country feel, to get a different kind of shopping experience,” Thomas said, “whereas when it becomes more residential, it will become more geared to people of that demographic.”
Antoine Tinawi owns the Om West yoga studio a few steps away from the Pioneer site. “It’s a very special neighbourhood and people want to live here, so if people have this opportunity to live here, I think its a good thing,” he said.
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But Thomas fears the upcoming construction will be bad for business.
“It will hurt me, for sure,” he said. “I’m lucky I have been here a long time so I survived the last construction, but I really feel for some of the newer businesses because they’re trying to establish clientele.”
The city also sold a public parking lot adjacent to the Pioneer site to the developer, which store owners say will also be detrimental to surrounding businesses.
Tinawi, on the other hand, thinks having more people around the neighbourhood could be beneficial in the long run.
“I think as far as the merchants in the village are concerned, we need more density, we need more people living in the village for the businesses to be sustainable, so I see this in a good eye,” he said.
The City of Pointe-Claire’s council voted unanimously to demolish the Pioneer building and approved the condo project on May 6.
Lawyers of Heart of Pointe-Claire — a citizen-led coalition — have since filed an injunction against the City of Pointe-Claire and the developer behind the new construction.
The injunction temporarily halts the project and stops Koebra Development Corporation from demolishing the building until the case is presented in court.
In a statement, the City of Pointe-Claire said it will comment on the issue only after a decision is made by the court. The developer did not immediately respond to Global News’ request for comment.
So far, the latest court date is scheduled for October.
— With files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez