Article in today’s Gazette discusses the Cresendo Restaurant on the Verdun Waterfront. Seems the city would like to sue for unpaid back taxes, but the restaurant claims it had a no taxes agreement with the city. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!
There used to be two boating clubs on the Verdun Waterfront, the Verdun Motor Boat Club and the Verdun Yacht Club (where the above mentioned restaurant resides).
Those boat clubs were there forever. But in the 80’s the autonomy of those clubs became threatened when residents of Nun’s Island began complaining about the boat clubs being “eyesores”. They were, of course, new residents complaining of things that had been there over 70 years in one form or another at that point in time.
In the 1930’s Mayor Wilson of Verdun vowed that there would never be commercial or residential development of the Verdun Waterfront. It was intended to be an area of recreation for the citizens of Verdun. And it remained that way for decades. The only projects built were the Auditorium, the Natitorium, and the Stadium, all post war work projects that were heavily used and enjoyed by the people of Verdun.
In the 60’s parts of the riverfront were landfilled and a series of Senior’s Residences were built. Not ideal, no, but Verdun was it’s own city in those days and almost every one could agree that such residences were necessary. Everyone adapted. It worked.
Georges Bosse was mayor of Verdun in the 90’s when things got bad for Verdun. The economy was bad, there was many empty stores on Wellington, and the city was home to the Rock Machine who were involved in a deadly drug war with the Hell’s Angels. Not the best of times.
So Mr Bosse decided that it was time to politically move in on the boat clubs, those “eyesores” on the waterfront that had been there forever. In the 80’s the VMBC had even experienced sabotage in the form of cabins being arsoned – there was fear and concern amongst it’s members, who could it be?
Eventually the VMBC was turfed out and a series of condo buildings was built on the site of the old Verdun Stadium (one side of the stands was sold to Concordia for a dollar and a portion of it can still be seen at the Loyola campus). They were not built on the VMBC site, but surely everyone involved with the condos was aware of the complaints coming from Nun’s Island and the logic had to be that if they complain over there then maybe this is not doable, and, of course, with the boat club gone, the condos could attract much bigger dollars.
The VYC was eventually turfed out to make room for the restaurant, the one with the no tax deal. You would have to be naive to not think that this was all part of a plan to turn the Verdun Waterfront into Montreal’s version of Miami Beach. So far there has been no new development, except for the completely absurd idea of building a bridge fron Nun’s Island to the Verdun mainland.
The condos on the waterfront and the restaurant are the legacy of Georges Bosse, a man who retired from politics and enthusiastically promoted the recently universally rejected Griffintown project as being something that could stimulate business on Wellington street in Verdun. Very interesting ideas from a man who was simultaneously a Wellington Street merchant and Mayor of the City who could only look elsewhere when the bikers were killing the street.
And on it goes…