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Hampstead residents encouraged to vote in referendum on controversial housing project

Click to play video: 'Hampstead residents to decide on future condo development project' Hampstead residents to decide on future condo development project
WATCH: Citizens opposed to a controversial high-rise building project in Hampstead have launched a referendum campaign. Their goal is to explain why they are opposed to the project and why people should vote no. Global's Brittany Henriques explains – Oct 31, 2019

As they kick off their campaign, the activist group “Vote Hampstead” has been encouraging residents to vote ‘no’ to the demolition of two apartments buildings on Côte-Saint-Luc Road.

Leah Lasry, the group’s campaign manager, said she hopes the upcoming referendum on the issue sees a big turnout.

“We don’t want to miss any votes, we want to make sure everybody knows: November 24, there’s a referendum,” said Lasry.

“We want to make sure our collective voices are heard.”

On Oct. 2, 250 residents signed a city register forcing the referendum. After months of debate, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg said he believes the vote will be in favour of a new apartment complex at the site.

Click to play video: 'Hampstead to hold referendum on housing project' Hampstead to hold referendum on housing project
Hampstead to hold referendum on housing project – Oct 3, 2019

READ MORE: Hampstead to hold referendum on housing demolition project

“It really does not reflect the look of Hampstead, that’s number one,” said Steinberg.

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“Number two, if people want to move here, young families, singles want to move into Hampstead, the choice is to spend at least $1 million.”

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Hampstead mayor on the defensive over demolition project – Jul 17, 2019

Despite the backlash, the mayor believes most residents want the new development project.

Meanwhile, the opposition said it’s still focused on ensuring people are registered to vote.

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Voter registration for the referendum, Lasry said, happens “on Nov. 11 or Nov. 12 at City Hall, between 12:00 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the 11th and 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the 12th.” said Lasry.

“[Residents can] officially get on the electoral list by bringing a proof of citizenship and a proof of residence.”
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The mayor said the new building will bring in $144,000 in tax revenue annually, but residents like Lasry aren’t convinced.

“Talk to me about what you’re doing for the residents of Côte-Saint-Luc Road,” she said. “Talk to me about the things that matter to us as Hampstead residents.”

READ MORE: Tensions boil as residents continue fight against Hampstead demolition project

Steinberg insists this new development will create more affordable housing, even if he doesn’t believe there’s a shortage in his community.

“I’ve driven along virtually, every building has vacancies,” said Steinberg. “So it’s just not true that there’s a housing shortage along Côte-Saint-Luc Road.”

The Town of Hampstead referendum will take place on Nov. 24, 2019.

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