June 28, 2013 7:59 pm
Updated: June 3, 2015 7:07 pm

Gentrification in Montreal not helping poorer families


WATCH ABOVE: Montreal’s south-west reputation is slowly turning around from impoverished to middle-class. Rachel Lau discovers the good and the bad of gentrifying our city.

MONTREAL – Griffintown, Saint-Henri and Verdun used to house some of the city’s poorest.

But the south-west’s reputation is slowly turning around from impoverished to middle-class.

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The city hopes building dozens of upscale condos in the area will attract young couples and new families.

But this change isn’t proving to be a positive one for everyone.

“More wealthy people move into an area that’s been kind of run down, not very desirable and invest in property” said Kevin Manaugh, a Geography professor at McGill University. “Prices go up, amenities come in and people who used to live there are pushed out.”

The Global News investigative desk has made this interactive map to highlight the average household income across Montreal since 2001.

Neighbourhoods like Verdun and Griffintown are dark green.

This shows they people living in those areas are getting wealthier.

(20:40:21 – 20:40:32 Cain)
“It gives you an insight into neighbourhoods that are doing well, said Patrick Cain, senior web coordinator for the Globalnews.ca investigative desk. “Neighbourhoods that are doing badly into the long term trends because we have twelve years of data on this map.”

With all these new condos being built, many of the families who once lived in Griffintown can no longer afford it.

Some say the city should have considered that before starting all these new projects.

“They forgot completely about the poor people,” said one resident. “I don’t know where they’re gonna live.”

Alexandra Coelho, a program coordinator at the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre says the city has to build better environments for the people already living in these neighbourhoods.

“What we aim to do is to give civil societies, citizens, people that have a hard time having a voice, we give them tools to be able to participate in the urban planning of their neighbourhoods so it’s more bottom up,” she said.

It’s easy to assume that developing our city is beneficial to all .

But experts say Montreal needs to improve life in the Southwest without hurting the poorer families who live there.

“Policy makers have to make sure it’s affordable for everyone, make sure it’s inclusive,” said Manaugh. “Make sure families wanna live there and aren’t forced out to live in the suburbs.”

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