Nearly 500 Dollard-des-Ormeaux (DDO) residents signed a registry with the city Thursday, forcing a referendum on a proposed large-scale housing project.
Now, the fate of the unused lot on St-Jean Boulevard near Salaberry Boulevard is back up in the air.
“We are both elated and surprised, but we are happy that our message got out to so many people,” said DDO resident Deborah Ancel.
DDO Mayor Alex Bottausci says he doesn’t plan to hold a referendum on the project and will instead ask the developer to present a new plan for the lot.
“My feeling is that [a referendum] would be wasting everbody’s time and increasing frustration levels. At some point, just stop. Let’s go back to the drawing board if there’s the willingness [from] everybody,” he said.
The proposed development, headed by architectural firm Provencher-Roy, consists of a nine-storey residential building with 272 apartments.
Its main selling point is that it’s blocks away from a future Réseau express métropolitain (REM) station.
But opposition to the project grew fast among DDO residents.
“It’s going to change the whole dynamic of the neighbourhood,” local Jorge De Matos told CTV News. “First, there’s the traffic, that the city hasn’t really addressed in my opinion.”
People living on side streets, such as Morningside, say it will be even tougher for them to turn onto St-Jean Boulevard during rush hour.
“This is just gonna be chaos here,” said resident Ernest Montreuil.
In addition, some residents take issue with the modification of bylaws that would allow for a much larger building than what the city currently permits.
Ancel says the community isn’t necessarily opposed to a residential project, but neighbours have specific concerns and feel they weren’t properly consulted.
“I’m glad that we got the numbers that we got, which means that the citizens around here got up and went and voted with their hearts, basically, on what needs to be in the area here,” Ancel said.
According to Battausci, what happens next depends on the developer. It’s a private project, he explained, and the developer may choose to walk away rather than start over.
“I think if the developer has the will to come forward with a project, a good meaningful project for the community, we welcome that, no problem. But [they] have to take the next step of meeting with the community to understand what their concerns are and were, and integrate those concerns into the project moving forward,” he said.
Ancel said she and the community are open to having these conversations.
“Residents here would be delighted to embark on a consultation was actually more of a discussion and less of a presentation,” she said.
The developer did not respond to a request for comment.
Some residents in DDO are opposing a proposed condo development they say will increase already heavy traffic in the Montreal suburb.