Decarie Square developers witness CSL resident anger

CSL city manager Tanya Abramovitch addresses Monday night's District 1 meeting, as Mayor Mitchell Brownstein looks on.

The area comprising the Le Vicomte condo complex and surrounding streets is in the centre of what residents view as a current and coming traffic nightmare. For residents who filled a room Monday night at Le Vicomte for a District 1 meeting hosted by Councillor Oren Sebag, the focus of their concern is the planned redevelopment of Décarie Square. Even as other local subjects were discussed, residents demanded information from Sebag, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Dida Berku on the future of the current largely rundown mall.

Even though the developers, who were present at the meeting, have not yet submitted a plan to the city, as Sebag pointed out repeatedly, some residents railed against any thought of residential towers as part of the project.

"In the morning, we have trouble exiting our garages... people don't stop at the stop signs and it's an accident waiting to happen," said one resident. "With all this inconvenience, you're talking about a larger Decarie Square with a lot more traffic. This will be a very dangerous and mind-boggling endeavour."

"We don't want more high rises in this area!"said resident Sharon Freedman.

CSL city manager Tanya Abramovitch's attempt to transform the meeting into a more positive session of what residents would want from a transformed Décarie Square was met with a mixture of hostility and skepticism, as well as constructive comments.

Following the more than two-hour meeting, we asked Décarie Square managing partner Alex Bouhadana his reaction to the mood of the room.

"I've been a resident of Côte St. Luc for over 35 years, and I go through this area every morning," he said. "We're very aware of the traffic. This is one of our concerns. We're still looking at the traffic issue.

"This meeting was a good initiative by the city. We haven't submitted a plan to the city — we're here to listen to what residents had to say. If we can do a better project, we will definitely integrate these ideas."

Brownstein was very pleased the developers attended, "so that they understand what the concerns are.

For instance, "if there are going to be towers, they shouldn't be too high, they should be closer to Décarie and as far away as possible from Le Vicomte, which makes sense. Hopefully, they will listen."

Berku emphasized that new transport solutions are needed for the Décarie axis as a whole in light of the coming developments.

"The sooner we find transport solutions, the easier it will be to redevelop."

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