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Montreal’s century-old St. Columba Church to be demolished, turned into homes

Click to play video: 'Montreal’s N.D.G. Church to be demolished following referendum' Montreal’s N.D.G. Church to be demolished following referendum
Montreal's N.D.G. Church to be demolished following referendum – Aug 9, 2021

The fate of Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce’s St. Columba Church has finally been decided.

After several years of debating development proposals, the former Anglican church on Hingston Avenue built 101 years ago is set to be demolished.

A majority of residents voted in favour of the development following a referendum which ended on Sunday, Aug. 8. According to the borough of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, 556 ballots were counted, which represents a participation rate of 37 per cent.

They added 337 people are in favour of the project, which represents 60 per cent.

“The people were very clear in their choice and this brings closure to the file and it will allow residents in the area to no longer live next to a decrepit building,” said CDN-NDG city councillor Lionel Perez.

Read more: Saint-Lambert residents quick to appeal decision on century-old Anglican church

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The former Anglican church, hidden behind overgrown greenery and covered in graffiti with several broken windows, will be replaced with seven new houses. The neighbouring parish hall that doubled as a community centre will be renovated into three housing units. An underground parking garage will also be built.

This is the second development proposal since the Anglican Diocese sold the property in 2013. The first project was abandoned after residents opposed it.

While Perez says the new developers who took ownership in 2017 made an effort to ensure that the population felt involved, not everyone is happy with the outcome.

“It’s a project who completely wiping out that community and social aspect,” said Monique Charpentier, who voted against the project.

She said she still doesn’t feel comfortable with the current project because she considers it to be not environmentally-friendly. Instead, she was hoping the developer would set aside some land for a community garden.

Read more: Tenants, politicians, community groups denounce wave of evictions in Côte-des-Neiges

Projet Montreal borough councillors who also voted against the project said they are worried about the borough’s under used-churches that are threatened by the prospect of redevelopment.

“These are architectural and heritage jewels and we don’t like or are very concerned about the process of them going down one by one in these single processes,” said CDN-NDG city councillor Peter McQueen.

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McQueen wants CDN-NDG officials to develop a policy to preserve as many religious buildings in the borough as possible.

The developer was not available to comment by deadline.

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Sunflowers in curbside community garden in NDG deemed a traffic hazard – Aug 4, 2021

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