Montreal

Pointe-Claire to buy $4M lot in historic village to block condo development

Instead of condos, the mayor said said the spot could become a park, skating rink or sugar shack with public washroom facilities.

Mayor says spot could become green space, sugar shack or skating rink instead

The city voted unanimously to buy the lot and block a condo development in the town's historic village district. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

The City of Pointe-Claire has voted to buy a vacant lot in its historic village to prevent the space from being turned into condos.

The vote passed unanimously at a special city council session Tuesday night. 

The land will be purchased from the promoter at the cost of about $3.75 million — a price mayor John Belvedere said he's willing to pay to keep big condo developments out of the area.

"It's the entrance to the village," he said. "We want to do something special to make it interesting for people who come down."

Belvedere suggested the spot could become a park, skating rink or sugar shack, and wants to include public washroom facilities, something that he said is missing in the area.

Tracy McBean, one of about 30 residents who went to the meeting, said she was happy with the city's plan. She believes it's important to protect what she called "the gateway to the village."

"There's many historical homes right there," she said. "Condos in that spot were absolutely not where they should have been."

Pointe-Claire resident Tracy McBean said it was important to protect the character of the "gateway to the village." (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

But some residents raised concerns about the cost of the project. Critics said the former Pioneer Bar building, also located in the village district, was bought by developers for much less.

But Belvedere said that "wasn't comparing apples to apples" because the circumstances in the two cases were different.

"It's about the size of the lot, the number of the square footage, the condition of the building of the Pioneer ... there's a lot of other factors that are involved," he said.

Belvedere said negotiations with the developer have been going on for about a year. Previously, the city had also wanted to change the zoning for the lot to ban five- or six-floor buildings on the lot.

Public consultations on what should be done with the space will be held, Belvedere said. 

With files from Antoni Nerestant

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