West of Montreal, in Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, a housing project is causing a stir. The reason: its location. It will be near a factory that manufactures and cleans portable toilets, so the company that runs it fears problems of coexistence with future residents.
Posted 5:00am Updated 6:33am
Henri Ouellette-Vézina La Presse
The city pleads for a need for action in the procurement of housing. “Yes, it’s a big project, but it’s something the population wants. Our city has very few tenants and it is important to create housing, including for young people who want to stay. There will also be a building dedicated to the Third Age. The development really meets the demands of the citizens,” says the mayor of Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, Danie Deschênes.
The first project was presented more than two years ago. The construction of a thousand residential units – condominiums, terraced houses, apartments – is scheduled to begin this fall. A zoning plan authorizing construction was approved by City Council in June. All construction costs are borne by the client, the Farand Group.
The apartments south of Forest Avenue across from Pinacle Street will be very close to the factory of Sanivac, a major supplier of portable toilets in the greater Montreal area, which has set up shop there because of the area’s “industrial” nature.
“The real estate project poses a major risk to coexistence in the industry,” said Sanivac managing director Vincent Kelly in a letter sent to the city in the past few days. He regrets that the future development area is designated as a “residential area” but borders on an industrial area. In an allusion to the conflict between the company and the Plante administration in Rivière-des-Prairies, the company’s environment is said to fear a “next Sanimax”.
Almost 200 trucks on the road
Day and night, all week long, more than 325 employees with almost 200 trucks are in transit.[er] a park with 9,500 dry toilets” on the site next to the future residential quarter, “and very large quantities of liquid sludge and solid sludge are handled there,” emphasizes Kelly.
Noise, light and odors caused by the company’s industrial activities must be taken into account by the respective project promoter as part of the permit application.
Vincent Kelly, CEO of Sanivac
“The developer’s plans show that five-storey apartment buildings with roof terraces are directly adjacent to the Sanivac plants without a buffer zone. This situation is worrying and approval from the city would not be reasonable,” emphasizes the managing director.
Ms. Deschênes, she assures that the city has planned everything. “We are not stupid, we will take measures to protect everyone’s privacy, with noise and odor management. There are already measures that the Farand Group is preparing,” she explains, referring precisely to a possible “buffer zone” between homes and industrial plants.
The city has the green light
An Interim Control Regulation (ICR) from the Metropolitan Community of Montreal (CMM), which was ratified by Quebec in June, will come into force next December. It will protect a total of 12,367 hectares of additional natural environments, bringing the total area under protection to 53,435 hectares, roughly equivalent to the island of Montreal.
In its letter, Sanivac reiterates that the area targeted by the city’s development has rightly been “recognized by the CMM as a terrestrial environment of metropolitan interest that must be protected from any development”.
In fact, the administration is authorized by Mayor Deschênes to proceed, confirms CMM spokeswoman Julie Brunet. “We cannot ensure that nothing develops overnight. Cities will be given a deadline to finish managing the projects they have already started with contractors. If the agreement was already in place, they have the right to respect it here,” she explains.
Several other communities in the greater Montreal area are in this situation. “Our ROI is really for the future that we do it so that the development stabilizes in the long term. It might therefore take a little longer before we see the full effect,” Ms. Brunet illustrates.
Sanivac also accuses the city of building on an area “adjacent to the habitation of the chorus frog,” a species threatened in Canada and endangered in Quebec. “As far as I know, the tree frog hasn’t been directly on the site for a long time. However, there are wetlands on the ground that remain. They will stay and be integrated,” replies Mayor Deschênes.