Controversy surrounds future of Montreal’s Hippodrome race track

Click to play video: 'Plante administration wants to breathe new life in to Hippodrome redevelopment project' Plante administration wants to breathe new life in to Hippodrome redevelopment project
WATCH: Montreal mayor Valerie Plante wants the Hippodrome project to become a reality in the next decade. Plante is proposing a housing complex with approximately six thousand units, almost half of which would be subsidized housing units. She also would like the project to be as "green" as possible. Global's Tim Sargeant has more – Oct 4, 2019

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has big ambitions for a massive new housing project at the site of the old Hippodrome race track.

She’s proposing 6,000 housing units be built within the next 10 to 12 years.

“It is frankly an exciting project,” she told reporters at a Friday press conference.

Plante’s plan calls for mixed social and private sector housing, but 40 per cent will have to be reserved for subsidized units. She also wants the area to be carbon neutral — with energy-efficient buildings and fewer cars.

“I’m definitely asking Montrealers to believe in this because the vision is clear,” she said.

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READ MORE: Montreal’s Hippodrome housing development moves forward

However, this isn’t the first time an announcement was made to convert the old race track into housing.

Former Mayor Gérald Tremblay broke ground on the topic seven years ago, calling for a massive housing project to be built. But since then — no groundbreaking on housing has begun.

Mayor Plante insists this time it’s different.

“We have the political will to move forward. We have investors that are already interested. They think this is a great idea,” she said.

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But Coun. Marvin Rotrand is downplaying Plante’s proposal. Rotrand doubts any promoter will develop this land given the 40 per cent threshold for social and affordable housing.

“This project is a pipe dream that will never happen,” he said.

Rotrand argues the 40 per cent criteria will scare away promoters and he insists trying to build a carbon-neutral zone isn’t realistic.

“You’re going to have a site with no cars what so ever, everybody is going to need some forms of public transit. There isn’t any immediate transit in the area,” he said.

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Public consultations are scheduled for later this fall.

Plante is hoping construction can begin within three to four years.

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