04/05/2013 05:57 EDT | Updated 06/05/2013 05:12 EDT

Montreal mayor denies borough officials intervened to favour developer

Montreal's mayor is denying a report that suggests the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce intervened to push through a controversial housing project.

A story published by the Montreal Gazette on Friday reported that documents obtained by the newspaper show borough officials contacted the city’s electrical commission about its recommendation regarding a housing complex on the corner of Upper Lachine Road and Wilson Avenue.

According to the Gazette, the borough's intervention ended up saving the developer close to $1 million in the process.

It appears the commission originally recommended the project’s power lines should be buried underground for safety and aesthetic reasons.

But in the end, the housing complex ended up being built with above-ground hydro lines.

According to the Gazette, the change came after the commission was contacted by an elected city councillor, Marcel Tremblay, and the borough’s manager.

The move came at a time when Applebaum was the mayor of the borough.

But Applebaum says the documents have been taken out of context.

On Friday, he responded to the report and said the borough only intervened in order to help the complex meet the requirements for affordable social housing.

“By reducing the cost of the construction, the savings were ... transferred over to the future tenants,” Applebaum said.

The borough now has a bylaw requiring all new housing projects to bury hydro lines.