Gatineau mall brainstormers want something quite different
Rezoning could bring parks, patios and paths
Politicians, residents and business owners are thinking about what a Plateau mall should look like in 2044 — and it's quite different from what shoppers are used to.
The existing complex on boulevard du Plateau west of boulevard Saint-Raymond in Gatineau, Que., is similar to those in many cities and towns, with big-box stores such as Walmart, Rona and Canadian Tire, and big parking lots.
But that model is outdated in an era promoting more active transportation and greenspace, said the area's councillor and president of the city's chamber of commerce at one of two public consultations on Saturday.
"[We're] all here to think about what this space could be 25 years from now, taking into account climate change and economic development," said Plateau Coun. Maude Marquis-Bissonnette, who commissioned a survey and helped organize the sessions.
"People want to go there [on foot], taking their bicycle or walking, and it's not very practical right now."
Seventy-five people came to Saturday morning's brainstorming session. The capacity was 65.
Many residents spoke about adding condos, parks, restaurants with patios and more transportation options.
"Cars are king and queen, pedestrians and cyclists are forgotten," said Bernard Hurteau, vice-president of the cycling advocacy group Action vélo Outaouais.
"There's no infrastructure for these people in these huge parking lots. It's very dangerous."
The city doesn't own the land and can't force its vision on the developers, but it can rezone the area to allow and promote that kind of development.
With files from Martin Robert