Henry Aubin wrote a very interesting column in Thursday’s Gazette. In it he discusses the “proposed” Griffintown Project and the extent of the involvement of a development firm called Devimco. It appears that Devimco would like to not just redevelop Griffintown, but also create public transportation corridors and concepts that would conveniently link with their mega shopping center, DIX30, in Brossard, as well as make Griffintown a major train stop on the way into the city (say what!?!?). And he also shows us the ties between Devimco and Bombardier, who would stand to profit by manufacturing the trains for those new corridors. This is a project which has extended outward from itself so much that it may be safe to suggest that the project as planned would change forever our concept of downtown. Not even the Olympic games impacted the downtown core as decisively as this one could. And City Hall seems to be enjoying the ride.
In most places that would be considered unacceptable.
When the project was first announced Mayor Tremblay suggested that people have an open mind about the project. Did he mean that he understood how controversial it could be? Or did he mean that the city was planning to just ram this through as usual with some obligatory “public consultations” to be held after all principles have basically agreed to go ahead?
Here in good ‘ol Montreal we continue to see billion dollar projects such as in Griffintown or the building of a new Turcot Interchange presented as a done deal by the time public announcements are made. Perhaps the only thing worse is how little the population seems to care. This used to be a world class city, but it has a lot of work to do to catch up with the rest of the world. In planning and democracy we are over 30 years behind.
PS. I tried Googling Devimco and had a hard time finding a proper web site. But going to Devimco dot com will take you here. In a superb bit of irony it would appear that the website is “under construction”. Nah, I must have found the wrong place.