Destination Vanier continues to cause discord at City Council
During question period following the City Council’s December 10th budget meeting, the Destination Vanier project issue was raised by a district citizen who questioned the ecological values of the Smartcentre project, which was deemed obsolete by several of the councillors who finally authorized it.
It should be recalled that the shopping centre file was approved by 10 votes to 8, with independent representatives voting in favour of the project and representatives of the mayor’s party, Action-Gatineau, voting against the project in its current form.
“For me, Destination Vanier is becoming a bit of a typical case of a missed appointment for the environment; we have principles, values and policies, but we see that it is often difficult to combine them with concrete actions in sustainable development and, in my mind, I remain a little bitter,” said Maude Marquis-Bissonette, who opposed the project.
Ms Marquis-Bissonnette argues that economic development and sustainable development are principles that could be better combined by an effort by developers to interact and discuss with citizens.
The assertion of the Councillor du Plateau was not well received by the Councillor for the District of Parc-de-la-Montagne-Saint-Raymond, Louise Boudrias, who argued that the fault should fall on the Council because of the long delays in the regulatory changes to the concordance by-law and the development plan.
“When I hear that it’s a missed appointment, I think it’s more like we missed the appointment (...) We’ve been saying for several years that we’re going to change things, but let’s change things properly. (...) Over the last few years, promoters have worked hard to bring their projects to fruition according to the rules we gave them, now we can’t just turn around and tell them we want to change things because it doesn’t suit us,” said Ms. Boudrias.
Audrey Bureau, councillor for Aylmer, who also approved the project, pointed out that this debate highlights several issues, including the importance of consultation, which is not currently mandatory.
She reminded the audience that the proponent is not required to undertake any consultative measures, but that they can do so in the same way as Bâtimo Construction did in the 170 rue Principale case.
Ms Bureau argued that significant changes are on the horizon in the green building and Smartcentre files in 2020, but that, since the Vanier destination project had been on the market for four years, these new regulations could not apply to the file.
Information session to come
The Deschênes District Councillor, Mike Duggan, said he had contacted the project developer, Chabitat Construction, and the builder, BBL Construction, to organize an information session between companies and citizens in the area.
Mr Duggan said that the proponent has been open to discussion with citizens, and is tentatively targeting mid-January for this information session.
“Entrepreneurs are ready to talk, because ultimately citizens are their customers, they want people to like it and businesses to be profitable. Things may or may not be beautiful according to your interpretation, but it is by discussing that things change and perhaps the final product will be something better,” said Mr Duggan.