City council rejects Vanier apartment complex project (for now)
The controversial Vanier Road development project that planned a 10-storey building with commercial space and approximately 420 units has been rejected by the municipal council. The land located at 502 Vanier near Boulevard des Allumettières was the target of the project.
The motion to greenlight the project was made by Mario Aubé, Masson-Angers councillor and president of the city’s Comité Consultatif de l’Urbanism (CCU), and was seconded by Mike Duggan, Pointe Gatineau councillor. Dêschenes councillor Caroline Murray asked for the vote. The final tally was six for and 13 against. All five Aylmer councillors voted against the project.
After news broke of the proposed project in early April, concerned residents created a petition to stop the project and gathered over 1,000 signatures. The main concern was traffic and circulation issues on the already busy roads. These concerns were echoed by the CCU as well as the Service de l'urbanisme et du développement durable (SUDD). Both the CCU and SUDD were not in favour of the project.
“This is a hot topic that has come up since the beginning of my mandate, the traffic at the Allumettières/Vanier intersection, said Caroline Murray, Deschênes councillor. “The traffic studies that were done for this project with the urbanism service showed that the road was already in heavy use and could not accommodate more vehicles. Therefore, in line with the CCU and SUDD, I will vote against this project.”
Others on the council, including the Mayor, voted in favour of the project, as it responds to important criteria that would allow for the future construction of a Tramway, which the council decided to support in the same meeting.
Despite being president of the CCU, which was not in favour of the project, Aubé called on his colleagues to greenlight the project. “The traffic situation needs to be fixed by the city but not to the detriment of the developer who worked properly with the city to create the project.” Late, in the municipal council meeting, Aubé stated, “The developers have worked with city services for two years to create a plan that aligned with the city’s development plan. It fits the zoning laws. We are asking the property owner to wait for how many years while we fix the circulation problem, when the project works with our development plan?”
Other Aylmer councillors also took their stance against the project, with Lucerne councillor Gilles Chagnon saying “I'm glad my colleagues understand that the infrastructure has to be in place before we can add density.”
“We are densifying the area; we approved three buildings on the other side of Vanier with a little less than 1,000 units. We keep putting off the expansion of Vanier,” said Mitigomijokan councillor Anik Des Marais. “I don’t have a problem with densification, but I have a problem with the sequence of steps to get there.
Photo Credit: Preliminary plan for the now rejected development project that would have been located at 502 chemin Vanier
Photo Caption: City of Gatineau