Bassins du Havre: a New Neighborhood
Following recent discussions on the future of Griffintown, I believe it is important that I, as a participant in the revitalization of this area, explain the process that led to the development of Bassins du Havre. I firmly believe that the revitalization of any neighborhood begins with the vitality created by housing, which is an essential element for any area undergoing rejuvenation. I also take great pride in the fact that our developments contribute to the conservation of our city’s heritage. Bassins du Havre came as the result of a consultation process that focused on collaboration and understanding with the local community.
The project, located on the site of the old Canada Post distribution center, was designed based on the ideas, opinions and feedback of members and leaders of the community. I would especially like to acknowledge the outstanding consultation work done by the Canada Lands Company (CLC). The organization made an effort to seek advice from many specialists and community leaders. For instance, in 2007, the CLC consulted with a wide variety of representatives in order to familiarize themselves with the city’s hopes and expectations for the site. That same year, the CLC organized an event to raise awareness about the project with all those who had a stake in its development, including the board of directors, community leaders, property developers and neighborhood residents.
Following these preliminary steps, in December 2007 the organization established a committee composed of two members of the South-West Borough`s local government, two representatives from the CLC, two community representatives as well as one from the city of Montreal. Their mandate was to guide the planning process of the project; meeting once a month, the committee followed the project`s progression from start to finish, i.e. from the preliminary ideas to the finalized plans. In 2008, two workshops were organized; the first one focused on modern families, while the second one dealt with the creation of a mixed use, vibrant urban community. Over 90 people attended.
Subsequently, more than 20 000 invitations were mailed to residents and businesses in the South-West borough, inviting people to an event where the vision for redeveloping the site for Bassins du Havre was presented. Over 700 people attended. A few months later, in November 2008, an open-door event was held in order to present to the public the details of the entire planning process. This event enabled over 800 people to make comments and express their views to the CLC. Finally, the organization participated in a public consultation discussing the project, which was held by the Office de la consultation publique de Montréal in February 2009. Overall, the entire consultation and planning process for Bassins du Havre lasted over 24 months. This process has resulted in a project reflecting collaboration, which corresponds to a vision of sustainable development. In addition, it was very important for us to carefully consider the needs and wants of our customers.
As such, following the sale of Pier 1, we collected, processed and analyzed the comments and opinions of over 450 people. With the information gathered, we were able to adapt our product to better meet the needs of our customers, in particular small families. As well, the results prompted us to include more space for Pier 2 than in any other project in the neighborhood. It now features many more 2 and 3- bedroom condos as well as two-storey townhouses on the ground floor and top floor.
Finally, while Griffintown is on the cusp of a radical revitalization, it is important still to honor and preserve the heritage of this historic neighborhood. It is for this reason that there are water basins present throughout the project, a nod to the historical importance of the old basins which defined this neighborhood for decades.
With the aim of achieving LEED certification, Bassins du Havre truly represents a new era in sound, sustainable development. We are extremely proud to present the Bassins du Havre project, a development that was shaped through an exemplary public consultation process.