Parc-Extension Protest – Nearly 50 people rallied recently outside the Park Extension Borough council meeting to oppose the demolition of a building located at 495 Beaumont Avenue. The rally capped a month-long campaign opposing demolition with about 60 letters sent to borough officials. The Comite d’action de Parc-Extension or CAPE is calling for an immediate halt to the proposed demolition.
“We only want social housing at 495 Beaumont,” CAPE spokesperson Amy Darwish said. She believes that the group’s opposition to the project will show developer Groupe Montoni and other real estate developers that these types of “landlord projects” are not welcome at Park-Extension.
In September, the Park Extension Borough’s demolition committee authorized the demolition of the Beaumont building to make way for an urban revitalization project by Groupe Montoni that would provide rental units for a diverse range of occupants. The Beaumont mixed use project includes rental housing for residents and local businesses, as well as a community workshop. It features an interior courtyard with an open green space with a garden and collaborative art installations.
CAPE maintains that the site has long been slated for the construction of social housing by the City of Montreal. In November, the borough’s elected officials voted unanimously to reject CAPE’s appeal to revoke the committee’s decision and approved the demolition at 495 Beaumont.
“For our part, we believe that additional rental units won’t in any way benefit the neighborhood if they are too expensive for the vast majority of its residents,” Darwish said. “On the contrary, they will only drive up rents and contribute to the gentrification of the neighborhood.”
Acknowledging that CAPE members are disappointed with the decision, she said the group will continue mobilizing to keep current tenants in the neighborhood. She said this type of project “goes hand-in-hand with repossessions, renovations, rent increases and harassment” as tenants are pressured to relocate outside the neighbourhood.