NEWS

Blue Bonnets racetrack housing development stalled

10/02/2014 06:34 EDT | Updated 12/02/2014 05:59 EST
The Blue Bonnets Raceway redevelopment project is underway, according to the City of Montreal.

This, despite the fact that none of the work at the abandoned racetrack has started, and the province has not yet signed a 2012 agreement to transfer the land to the city.

Two years ago, the province and the city trumpeted a development deal that would see thousands of new housing units at the Blue Bonnets site on the west side of the Décarie Expressway near the Orange Julep.

The land originally belonged to  the horse-racing organization SONACC. It was unloaded onto the provincial government when SONACC was looking for ways to escape from under $44 million worth of debts.

The immense 440,000 square-metre terrain was scooped up by the province, which later announced it would transfer the land to Montreal to develop housing on it.

As many as 8,000 environmentally friendly homes – including some subsidized housing set aside for low-income residents – are slated to be built on the land.

The land transfer was heralded as a “win-win” situation for the province and city.

But city councillor Marvin Rotrand said nothing has happened on the land yet.  Part of the reason is that the province hasn’t signed the documents to transfer the land to the city.

“This huge piece of really valuable land right in the heart of the city, remaining undeveloped year after year, makes no sense whatsoever,” Rotrand said.

He said he heard from city employees that the project may be scaled back or changed significantly.

In a written statement, a city spokesman said Montreal is working on a new deal with the province.

He said the city will still meet the objectives set out in the original deal, and construction will begin as scheduled in 2017.

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