Published on: May 31, 2017 | Last Updated: May 31, 2017 8:53 PM EDT
The former Children's Hospital in Montreal, Dec. 15, 2016. Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
The $400-million project to raze and build over the old Montreal Children’s Hospital site reached a crucial milestone Wednesday as the city’s public consultation office praised the development’s “innovative” potential.
But the Office de consultation publique de Montréal cautioned that the condo development needs to scale back its size, increase green space and prioritize social housing for it to be deemed acceptable by west-downtown residents.
These were the findings put forth by the OCPM in a report published Wednesday after hosting public hearings on the project last winter.
“This (project) is an innovative way for the city to rebuild itself from within,” writes Hélène Laperrière, who chaired the public hearings. “It is a challenge that the city of Montreal is up for.”
Dévimco, the company spearheading the project, would replace the former hospital site with six towers; mostly encompassing condominiums but also a community centre, a school, 160 social housing units and a hotel. The company also announced plans to build a park on the building’s southern flank.
Critics of the six-tower project say its social housing units are too small and should be reserved for young, working class families — many of whom are slowly being driven from downtown by rent hikes and other economic pressures. Others worry that 80-metre-tall towers will cast a shadow over much of the city’s western flank.
The OCPM report says that by prioritizing social housing units for young families and by modifying the angle of Tower 4 to allow sunlight into Cabot Square, many of these concerns can be alleviated.
There’s also the issue of trees, parks and gardens. West downtown has about 0.6 hectares of green space per 1,000 residents. That’s three times lower than the city average and six times lower than what provincial environmental norms deems acceptable.
To this end, the report suggests Dévimco expands the proposed park deeper into the towers’ southern flank, which runs along René-Levesque Blvd.
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