MONTREAL – Demolition of the old Canada Post facility in Griffintown is well under way to make room for a major residential development, but the promoters of the Bassins du Nouveau Havre project prefer the word "deconstruction" to describe the process.
That's because 94 per cent of the materials from the old building will be reused or recycled, rather than landfilled.
This is just one of 40 sustainable development criteria the project's developer, the Canada Lands Company (CLC), must meet according to the development agreement approved Aug. 25th by Montreal city council.
At a news conference called to outline the next steps in the project's evolution, Mayor Gérald Tremblay described the $760-million plan as "exemplary" because of its many green components, its family-friendly design, and its respect for the history of the nearby Lachine Canal.
The mayor also welcomed the $12 million per year in property taxes the project is expected to rake into city coffers.
The project, which should be ready for residents by spring 2012, will consist of 2,000 residential units, of which 400 must be reserved for subsidized housing and 200 must be "affordable." About one-third of the units must be designed for families with children.
Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the CLC, said the deconstruction work should be completed by next summer, and the first lots should go up for sale in spring 2011.
Among the green components of the project are a system to recover storm run-off and planted vegetation, or green roofs, on most of the buildings. About 20 per cent of the site will be green space.
Residents who agree to forego a parking space will be given a discount on public transit passes and the site will be well-served by public transit, a car-sharing service and the city's new BIXI short-term bike rental program.
Before the wrecking balls started swinging this summer, the CLC began selling off doors, light fixtures, electrical panels, insulation, neon lighting and other materials from the postal sorting centre to buyers in Montreal and around the province.
For example, a brewery located right across the street from the project bought steel railings and a rolling extension ladder.
Alimex, a Montreal restaurant equipment and supply wholesaler, bought kitchen and cafeteria equipment.
While materials like asphalt, concrete and roofing gravel will be recycled, other components of the station, like plumbing materials, roofing insulation, metal cladding, and roofing insulation will be reused .
The Canada Lands Company is a federal crown corporation that manages, redevelops and sells federal lands that are no longer required for government use. In 2007, the federal government announced the CLC would redevelop 40 hectares on five properties in the Old Port and along the Lachine Canal. Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre is the first of these projects, referred to collectively as Montreal's New Harbourfront.
The basins referred to in the project's name are four offshoots of the Lachine Canal dug in the 1870s. These were used by shipping companies for loading and unloading cargo. In the 1960s, these waterways were filled in and the postal centre was erected over them.
The development will "evoke" these historical basins by installing reflecting pools and green space (playing fields, playgrounds, a rain garden to treat storm run-off) where they once were.
Laroche said the CLC is now developing plans for the redevelopment of the Grain Elevator No. 5 site in the Old Port. Laroche called on Montreal's business community, all levels of government, and community groups to participate in the development of the historic property.
For more information on the Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre project, go to www.lesbassins.ca
For more on the other CLC harbour projects, go to www.nouveauhavredemontreal.ca