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Monkland Village residents deplore loss of green space in favour of condos

A group of Monkland village residents wants the borough of NDG to reconsider a proposed housing project located at 5867 Ch. de la Côte-St-Antoine.
A group of Monkland village residents wants the borough of NDG to reconsider a proposed housing project located at 5867 Ch. de la Côte-St-Antoine on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Sylvain Trudeau / Global News

A group of Monkland village residents wants the borough of NDG to reconsider a proposed housing project at 5867 Ch. de la Côte-St-Antoine.

A couple dozen people showed up to public consultations with the borough of Côte des Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

They told officials that the project is too big and out of character for the area’s single-family home style.

Maria Luisa Scandella says the project is difficult to live with. “We got so used to having this beautiful garden,” Scandella said. “This property, the way it’s being marketed to us, it’s going to lose all its charm.”

Montreal making room for massive green space in West Island
Montreal making room for massive green space in West Island

People also deplored the loss of a community garden, as well as the loss of parking spots and privacy for neighbours.

“They have no respect for our neighbours,” Scandella said. “They’re planning on putting a terrace roof into the existing building, which will look into our backyards, into our bedrooms.”

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The project would feature seven condos and needs the borough to allow for several exceptions to its bylaws, including building on nearly 90 per cent of the lot and adding an extra story.

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Residents say they’re willing to force a referendum on each one of the exceptions if necessary.

“We’ve spoken to one of the owners and tried to get them to downsize the project in order to avoid a fight like this,” said Peter Zimmerman.

“We don’t want to impede progress, we just want it done sensitively.”

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The developer, Craig Park, told Global News he’s been in touch with residents and has made tweaks to plans based on their feedback. “We completely changed the facade to respect the neighbours. We changed some sizing of architectural elements and went back to them. We came back with other issues we’ve addressed,” Park told Global News.

The 1920 building is the original site of the Wesley United Church.

Heritage Montreal’s director Dinu Bumbaru told Global News in an email there should be caution when it comes to approaching the building and advice should be sought upon the Conseil du patrimoine de Montréal.

“If it hasn’t been done, all decisions regarding the project should be suspended,” Bumbaru wrote.

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Bumbaru says the building is a component of the urban villages that were created at the end of the 19th, beginning of 20th centuries and between both World Wars in Montreal but also in Toronto and other cities.

“We can suppose that a building dating back to 100 years and that has been used for the community has heritage value, even without having to be a great architectural masterpiece,” Bumbaru explained.

In a statement to Global News, borough Mayor Sue Montgomery said there is a need for more housing to keep families in the city.

“It is a promoter’s responsibility to build social acceptability for their project. After hearing from all sides, council will make a decision,” Montogomery wrote.

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A report on the consultations will be tabled at the next borough council meeting on Dec. 2.