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Montreal-area private school land sale sparks controversy

MONTREAL – A controversial decision by a West Island private all-girls high school is coming under the close scrutiny of nearby residents.

Queen of Angels Academy in Dorval is planning to sell 200,000 square feet of its property – almost one quarter of its campus – to real estate developers.

The land for sale includes a soccer field and a baseball diamond wedged between the school building and a Bell Canada office tower.

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Queen of Angels Academy in Dorval is planning to sell almost a quarter of its campus to real estate developers. Tim Sargeant/Global News
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Queen of Angels Academy in Dorval is planning to sell almost a quarter of its campus to real estate developers. Tim Sargeant/Global News
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Queen of Angels Academy in Dorval. Tim Sargeant/Global News

The city is considering rezoning the land as residential property, in order to allow up to 300 housing units to be built.

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The homes would include condominiums, town houses and semi-detached houses.

But the land sale and residential project  has some residents very worried.

Local resident, Claudio Riti lives behind the school.

He is concerned that the proposed project could bring down the value of his property and that of his neighbours.

“Everything that has do to with building this project is going to be very disruptive to our way of life here,” he said.

Why sell the land?
The school needs to sell the land to increase its revenues.

Enrolment has dropped to 300 students per year compared to 500 a decade ago.

The President of the Board of Directors, Dominic Varvaro, said that the Queen of Angels Academy, like many other private schools, is struggling in a competitive private school market place.

Dorval’s mayor, Edgar Rouleau, noted that a zoning change could be approved as early as next month.

But Rouleau insisted that the school’s plans had to fit into the urban landscape of the neighbourhood.

“We’ve discussed different plans with the promoter but we haven’t approved anything yet,” Rouleau said.

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