Sirens and Wanklyn

June 4, 2015

The Labatt Brewery in LaSalle was one of six Montreal companies to test their emergency sirens this afternoon. I’m too far away to hear them, but if anyone else did, I’d love to know what happened.

The tests are designed to train people to protect themselves from explosions and possible toxic gas exposure. When emergency sirens go off, anyone who hears them should take shelter in the closest building to their location and close all windows, doors and exterior ventilation systems.

Also, a reader mentioned that I forgot to publish my report on the May borough council in LaSalle here. The following report appeared in the May 20th City edition of the Suburban on page 9. So, here it is. (Note LaSalle’s borough meeting for June did indeed take place last Monday. I’ll publish my report about that meeting next Monday.)

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Wanklyn Reintroduced in LaSalle

LaSalle borough councillors approved or changed four large residential development projects—Wanklyn Island, Bois-des-Caryers, Bobois and Bouvier/Schevchenko—at their regular meeting Monday May 4. They also accepted payments to maintain parks from the developers of other large projects on Allion and LaSalle.

Wanklyn was the most controversial topic of the evening, followed closely by the council’s refusal to allow web diffusion of meetings. Residents also asked about a wall to protect them from noisy highway construction, late garbage pick-up and snow-clearing.

Throughout the evening, several people raised their voices, interrupted each other and heckled as Mayor Manon Barbe received and answered questions.

Wanklyn concerns a 47,139-square-metre triangular property between Cherry Lane, Jean-Milot, Wanklyn and Highway 138. The owner, The Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ, proposes to build 786 units and a park on the site, including 119 units for people with low and moderate incomes, 230 units for first-time buyers who need government assistance to purchase a condo, and 437 rentals, condos and/or seniors’ units.

This is essentially the same project that was already rejected by local citizens in 2012. (See my previous stories: referendum-or-revision-for-wanklyn-projectlasalle-borough-approves-wanklyn-vote,  borough-sets-june-21-for-register-about-wanklyn-island-zone-changes, and merlin-immobilier-lowers-height-of-buildings-in-proposed-wanklyn-project).

Citizens, notably Sonja Susnjar, are asking why a local referendum isn’t being held now.

Instead, the borough of LaSalle has referred the development to City of Montreal councillors so that they can refer the project to the Office de consultation publique de Montreal (OCPM).

The Wanklyn project concerns all LaSalle residents and all LaSalle residents should have a say about what will happen,” said Mayor Manon Barbe in her remarks at the beginning of the meeting. “It will be better to have the consultation of residents conducted by an independent, credible organization specializing in urban planning and land-use planning—an organization consisting of no elected representatives or municipal officers.”

Monique Vallée asked the mayor to explain why the first page of the proposal outline referred to a larger vision of the entire Quartier de la Gare region.

What is this larger vision?” she asked.

There is no larger vision,” said Barbe, raising her voice. “This is the entire project for the Ilot Wanklyn.”

Sonja Susnjar, who led the citizens’ campaign against the project in 2012, lost her composure as Mayor Barbe denied additional development near the train station. Susnjar and her neighbours already face traffic jams in their area, particularly on Friday nights. She worries that large-scale development in the region will make those challenges even worse. She also worries about parking, snow-clearing and noise.

You spoke about 2,000 units in the area with a La Press reporter in 2011,” she said loudly. “There’s a map showing that bigger plan on the wall. Or at least there used to be. Is it still there?”

Barbe continued to express that the only development now under discussion is the Wanklyn project.

Francisco Moreno was supposed to be the final questioner of the evening. He had planned to ask about new construction, but instead kept criticizing the Mayor for refusing to accept web diffusion.

The Mayor ended the meeting instead of arguing with him.

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Tracey Arial

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Tracey Arial

Tracey Arial helps Canadians grow with notable nonfiction and urban agriculture.

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  • Sonja Susnjar says:

    Proof that the larger vision does exist and that it includes Îlot Wanklyn, the site of the Fleischmann’s factory and other developments in the general area of the LaSalle train station is available on the City of Montreal’s official website:

    – In the upper right hand corner of the home page click on City council webcasting (webdiffusion/conseil municipal);
    – on the Webdiffusion page, click on “Ordres du jour” on the right hand side;
    – on the “Ordres du jour” page click on the document entitled “Quartier Wanklyn”.listed under “Détails de l’évènement” for the city Council meeting held on June 15th, 2015 at point 43.01.

    This will show you that the document put there to inform the city councillors who voted on June 15th re the Îlot Wanklyn project is actually entitled “Quartier de la gare LaSalle” and that the Îlot Wanklyn project is just one of the projects in this larger plan. (Another one is the already approved 174-unit “Highlands” project which is just starting to be built on the west side of the CP train track on the former site of the Patella furniture factory.)

    The mayor’s plan for 2000 residential units in this larger project for the area of the LaSalle train station is confirmed in Danielle Bonneau’s article “Vers l’avenir” (LaPresse, November 20th, 2010). In spite of the defeat of the first Wanklyn project at a register for a referendum in 2012 on account of Citizen concerns re the number of units and the heights of the buildings, the mayor has verbally confirmed her intention to build this larger development in response to my questions at the borough Council meetings which are not allowed to be recorded. .

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