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Montreal West planning for its own senior residence

October, 2009

After years of discussions among Montreal Westers about not having a retirement residence to call their own, town officials hope to sign an agreement in the next two or three years with a residence operator.

Montreal West itself is not going to build a senior residence but will encourage the construction of one through private interests. The town has tentatively designated a site for the future residence on Westminster S. near the intersection of St. Jacques. “We’re not necessarily convinced that’s the best place,” Mayor Campbell Stuart says of the location, which nonetheless has been re-zoned to accommodate a four-storey building. “We wanted to allow for the kind of density we knew would probably be necessary for it to make sense economically. But whether it means it has to be that big … all we’re doing is facilitating it.”

Montreal West is in the midst of creating a new urban development master plan, which integrates residence idea. According to town councillor Colleen Feeney, there is a will, an interest and a need for a retirement residence.

The proposed site of a new residence

“Now I think we’re really at the stage where we want to see whether it’s possible, feasible, and whether there is a place where we could have it,” she says. Two years ago, when town officials conducted a survey to evaluate the amount of interest there might be in such a venture, 76 per cent of residents said they were likely to eventually move into a senior residence. Federal census figures indicate that among the more than 5,300 residents in Montreal West, at least 20 per cent are over 65.

“There is a high population of seniors – in fact higher than in NDG,” Feeney says. “With so many seniors in the area and the fact that there are not many options for them to live within the community when they sell their houses, there’s probably a need for a whole lot of different types of senior housing here — maybe also condos.”

Besides attracting a developer, there’s another hurdle. This past spring and summer when the town held public hearings to gauge interest in its redevelopment plan, residents from nearby streets expressed concerns about a four-storey building going up behind their homes. The location itself on Westminster is occupied by the Montreal Westlibrary and a small park that was created where a gas station once stood, necessitating soil remediation.

As for alternative locations, town officials may not have many other choices. One suggestion is that an agreement might be reached with one of the three churches located in Montreal West for land they might be willing to part with.



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