Place des Peuples development creates controversy in Gatineau

A controversial condo project in Gatineau is facing another obstacle after a nearby private school announced it would not sell part of the land planned for development.

By Haley Richie.

Brigil development’s Place des Peuples plan, which has not yet been brought to city council, would involve two massive condo towers constructed on Laurier just north of the Canadian Museum of History.

Brigil was hoping to obtain a parking lot owned by the College Saint-Joseph de Hull as part of the project.

But board members of the college told Le Droit newspaper Monday that it never agreed to sell the lot to the developer.

Nicole Paquin, president of the board, told the newspaper that the massive towers threaten the heritage feeling of the neighbourhood and they do not support the project.

She said construction activities would threaten enrolment at the school and the board is not planning on selling the land or relocating the campus.

Yves Ducharme, a spokesperson for Brigil developments, said the project will still continue.

“It’s half a lot and it would have allowed us to bring the main tower back towards Notre Dame Street,” said Mr. Durcharme. “We would have liked to use it but we will just advise our architects to proceed as needed. We’re just going to push forward the tower.”

Mr. Ducharme said that rather than ruin the area, the towers would help protect the historically significant neighbourhood by making it a destination for tourists, shoppers and new residents.

“The project would be the perfect transition for the downtown core,” he said.

The project has yet to receive the go-ahead from Gatineau’s city council. The official proposal is expected to go to council in January.

Two towers designed to complement museum

Brigil’s Place des Peuples project has divided Gatineau since it was unveiled at the Canadian Museum of History gala last month.

The $400-million project would occupy an entire block along rue Laurier just north of the iconic Gatineau museum. Two towers, one 35 storeys and the other 55 storeys, would be linked at the base with architecture that would mimic the museum.

Both the museum and the towers are designed by renowned Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal and are part of the designer’s original plan for the “museum quarter.”

The towers would house condos and a four- or five-star hotel along with an observation deck on the top floor.

An online petition has gathered close to 1,000 signatures in support of the project. The property is expected to bring in $8 million per year in taxes.

Despite the expected economic boost, a number of residents have also raised concerns about the impact construction will have on the heritage neighbourhood and existing buildings.

The project has ended up being so controversial that Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin told Le Droit he was considering a citywide referendum on the project.

This article originally appeared on on Dec. 16.