Hampstead postpones decision to demolish buildings on Cote St-Luc Rd.
The City of Hampstead has postponed a decision to demolish two apartment buildings that would force a tight-knit group of tenants to relocate.
Tenants in the buildings on Cote St-Luc Rd. have united to stop a nine-storey building from replacing their homes.
Tenant Marie Pontini has lived there for 13 years and has grown close to her neighbours, especially after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago.
“I wouldn't have been able to live on my own. I would have had to move into a CHSLD (long-term care facility) otherwise, so because of them, I was able to stay alone, because they would help me. Someone would come to take care of my cat, come to the hospital with me,” she said.
Pontini said she and other tenants are taking up the fight together.
“Maybe they were not expecting that we would be united like that,” she said.
Mayor Bill Steinberg decided to postpone a decision on demolition last week at the town's demolition committee meeting,
“We had a meeting. We heard from a lot of residents. The bottom line is the committee wasn't satisfied we knew enough about the relocation plan being proposed by the developer,” he said.
Steinberg said a final decision on demolition is expected on July 15.
The mayor has been in favour of the new construction and said a development would free up units in nearby buildings.
“A number of people in the other buildings along Cote St-Luc Rd., all of which are about 50 to 70 years old, a number of them will probably consider moving into this new building. And that will create vacancies in many of these older buildings,” he said.
A spokesperson for the developer said they are disappointed about not getting approval, but said relocation plans should be given to tenants this week.
“It will explain the timeline for when they would have to relocate to another location and what kind of compensation they would get for that,” said spokesperson Jonathan Goldbloom.
Tenants in the building say picking up and finding a new home isn't that easy; affordability is a concern in a city with a low vacancy rate.
Their current buildings are conveniently located, said Pontini.
“It gives freedom to go where I want to go. The bus right in front goes straight to downtown. The other, every five minutes, goes straight to Cote des Neiges,” she said.
Tenant Felicia de la Guardia said she’s not ready to leave.
“It's my home. I will never get this replaced because my life is going to be affected a lot since I'm working across the street,” she said.