Laval, Quebec's citizens movement “Pas de Tours dans Ma Cour,” (PTMC) or “No Towers in My Neighborhood,” is setting the tone for the upcoming public consultations that will be led by the Demers administration, beginning August 1, 2015, on the revision of the territorial development plan. The current plan has been in place for more than 25 years.
According to the results of a survey that the organization conducted in March 2015, 64% of the 437 respondents are of the opinion that real estate developments should be limited to 4 stories in residential neighborhoods in order to assure architectural cohesion. One out of four respondents (26%) would be in favor of allowing for the continued construction of apartment buildings between 5 and 8 stories so long as they are in keeping with the neighboring area and are erected at least 300 meters from the river. These tall constructions should also be concentrated on urban boulevards, like Laurentides Boulevard, or in certain sectors of the city like the Centropolis, responders believe. According to several citizens, the impact of these projects on local traffic is an element that the city should consider when they are analyzing a particular real estate project.
In this respect, they also wish that developers would be required to join an impact study to their urban planning permit requests, and that this impact study would become publicly available so that citizens could become aware of it. The protection of the river banks and their accessibility also came up frequently in the surveys, highlighting the organization who organized the polls.
A Resounding “No!” to the Envol Condominium Project
Not surprisingly, close to 90% of the 437 people who completed the online questionnaire were opposed to the Envol Condominiums project, which seeks to build an 18-story tower at the edge of Lévesque Boulevard, adjacent to Henri-Dunant Park and diagonal from the Commodore Marina. This building of 126 condos, for which a permit request was submitted to the city, is one of the three projects that PTMC contests. Don’t forget that this same organization came out of that same summer combatting three skyscraper projects around the marina, made possible by the urban planning policy (PPU-Cartier) that was adopted by the former Vaillancourt administration.
According to all evidence, the O’Cartier project does not face the same sort of opposition. Only 30% of respondents object to the construction of its 14-story tower, close to the Pont Viau neighborhood.
That being said, “The vast majority of respondents estimate that the height is disproportionate and will forever disfigure the city,” indicates PTMC. “Half of respondents would be in favor of the project if the height were to be reduced to a more normal dimension and (better) integrated with the environment,” they add.
Non-consulted and Badly Informed
Moreover, 84% of people who responded to the opinion poll confirmed not having been consulted about major projects planned for their neighborhoods, even though they almost all expressed the wish to be consulted on those projects that could possibly affect their immediate environment. The survey also shows that three out of four people surveyed (75%) did not know anything about the zoning laws in effect on Lévesque Boulevard. There are no laws limiting the heights of projects there. According to the coordinator of the survey, Ronald Martineau, this survey illustrates that “the administrative decisions made by the Vaillancourt administration continue to haunt Laval’s citizens.” He acknowledges at the same time “the (current) Demers administration’s desire to consult citizens on real estate projects that have to do with the development of their neighborhoods.”
How much input do you think citizens should have on urban planning and development projects? What process does your government follow to inform its citizens about development projects? Share your comments and city's stories in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French, here.
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