The fate of the Pioneer Bar and Restaurant in the Pointe-Claire Village has been determined and demolition of the historic building is imminent. However, it appears the battle will continue on another front – over the City’s highly controversial decision to allow for a condo/commercial development on the site. According to two recent press releases from the Heart of Pointe-Claire, a non-profit citizens’ organization who have been at the forefront in the battle to save the Pioneer, the building and adjacent parking lot was sold to a developer who has plans to build a ’13-apartment, 4-storefront condo building… larger than anything presently on the main road of the Village’.
Pointe Claire residents disappointed with Pioneer Building court decision
In one press release ‘An Open Letter to Pointe-Claire’s Mayor John Belvedere’ they write; ‘We, the members of the Heart of Pointe-Claire, are understandably disappointed with the recent Superior Court decision to allow the demolition of the Pioneer building in the Pointe-Claire Village, a building that has been the heart of our village for over a century. Not only has this Council voted to demolish a heritage building, its replacement project will span two cadastral lots with concrete, and the project will turn the entire Village into a ‘chantier’ for months or years on end. Members of our group went door to door to conduct an opinion survey including most of the residents of the Village and adjoining streets, and the overwhelming majority opposed both the demolition and the proposed replacement project. There is virtually no social acceptability in the Village for this project’.
In the other press release ‘CPC (Coeur de Pointe-Claire) reaction to Pioneer court ruling’ with the title ‘The Pioneer to come down – there goes the neighbourhood…’ they state, ‘With Mr. Justice Synnott’s ruling on October 16 to allow the demolition of the century-old Pioneer/former Hotel Pointe-Claire, the death knell has rung for this landmark heritage building. Many fear the demise of the Pioneer signals the beginning of the end for the Village of Pointe-Claire itself – there are several other condo projects waiting in the wings, among them a 50-unit complex to be built by Quorum on the corner of Cartier Avenue and Lakeshore Road, all vaunting and selling the special cachet of the historic village as they prepare to bulldoze it’.
It also goes on to say, regarding the judgement rendered in Superior Court: ‘The judge acknowledged that the City had not followed its own bylaw procedures; acknowledged the City disregarded its own resolutions voted on by City Council; and acknowledged the City had reversed itself on public positions… the Belvedere administration was elected on the promise of “The Citizen First.” The people of the entire city of Pointe-Claire, not just the village, rallied round this village landmark, supporting in large numbers the renovation option over demolition, yet they were not heard. Although the battle for the Pioneer may have been lost in a court of law, it won hands down in the court of public opinion. But to no avail’.
The information and claims in the releases go into depth about many other issues from the cost to taxpayers, lack of studies on expected increase in water usage and increased run-off, to the affects of increased traffic. There is also a link to a video that resurfaced where Mayor Belvedere, who was running for his present position in 2017 clearly states, “I am not a big condo guy” and effectively reneging on his election promises. You can watch the video (his statement near the end at 6:47 into it) at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER0LEai8ZGs&t=43s.