Opposition grows to demolition of historic home in Montreal’s south west

Click to play video: 'Owners of a 140-year-old Montreal home asks the city for a demolition permit'
Owners of a 140-year-old Montreal home asks the city for a demolition permit
WATCH: Owners of a 140-year-old Montreal home asks the city for a demolition permit. – Mar 8, 2021

Residents in the south west are upset, because a Côte-Saint-Paul home built more than a century ago may soon be demolished.

Roger Villeneuve has lived across from the historic home on Galt Street for more than 20 years.

“It’s very sad for the neighbourhood to lose a nice old house that’s part of the heritage of this neighbourhood,” Villeneuve told Global News.

The house at 1871 Galt has stood since about 1900. It was one of the very first to be built in the south west. Villeneuve said he once saw an old overhead photo of the area in the 1900s in which a local church and the house were the only buildings on the street.

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“How come they don’t keep something that’s 100 years old?” he wonders.

Villeneuve says nobody has lived in the house for at least six months, and in recent days a notice appeared on the door saying the owner has requested permission from the city to demolish the building. A consultation process on the owner’s request is underway.

The current owner purchased the property in 2019.

In the lot right next door stands a modern condo building. Villeneuve fears that’s what will replace the century-old home.

“He should fix it, not put it down,” he said.

Heritage Montreal Assistant Policy Director Taika Baillargeon said she hears of similar stories often.  Baillargeon says a house like the one on Galt is unique, and within its walls carries the history and identity of the neighbourhood.

On a Facebook page highlighting heritage buildings threatened by the wrecking ball, there were multiple comments denouncing a potential demolition.

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Baillargeon pointed out that allowing such a demolition would contradict the Plante administration’s goal to look at all decisions with climate change in mind.

“Demolishing is actually not good for the environment. Building new is not as good as refurbishing or renovating or restoring,” she explained.

The demolition is not a done deal. A consultation is underway, and this notice invites citizens to share their opinion with the borough before March 18th.  The matter will be discussed at an online session March 23rd.

Villeneuve said he will be writing in to give his opinion.

“It’s for sure I’m going to write one, and I’ll ask my neighbours to write, too,” he said.

In a statement, the Sud Ouest borough said a committee would make the final decision, and that even after that an appeal is possible. They said borough leadership pays particular attention to protecting the historic character of certain buildings in the area. Borough mayor Benoit Dorais was not available for an interview.

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