The borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce says he wants council to withdraw the proposal to build a new Provigo supermarket.

Russell Copeman said the controversial project would have to go to a referendum vote before the it could go through — and that would cost the borough too much money.

"I believe it would be a waste of taxpayers' dollars and time and effort to organize such a referendum, so I'm going to recommend to my colleagues that the project be withdrawn," Copeman said.

Provigo ndg

Provigo owns land at the corner of De Maisonneuve and Claremont in NDG, and wants to build a new supermarket here. (Charles Contant/ CBC)

The 3,700-square-metre project would include a Provigo supermarket as well as a seniors' home and units devoted to parents of children in the Montreal Children's Hospital.

It would be built on an empty plot of land, which is owned by Provigo, at the corner of De Maisonneuve and Claremont in NDG.

In November, council approved a zoning change so that the 10-floor building could be constructed.

Within a few days, enough residents had signed a registry to force a referendum on the project.

"A referendum on this subject would cost an estimated $15,000 to $20,000...There would be roughly 50 people eligible to vote in this referendum," Copeman said.

Copeman added that even if a referendum were held and the majority of eligible voters were to say "No" to the project, the developer would still have the option of petitioning the City of Montreal to get a green light.

Copeman said that if he and his fellow councillors withdraw the project proposal, its fate will automatically lie with the City of Montreal.

"It takes it out of the hands of the six local elected borough councillors and the referendum process... and transfers the decision to the 65 members of Montreal's city council," said Copeman, adding that he still thinks the Provigo project is a good idea for the borough.

The borough council will decide whether or not to go ahead with a referendum at its next meeting on Jan. 18.