Councillors voted to bend rules, save developer $1,000,000
Published Friday, April 5, 2013 12:19PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 5, 2013 11:29PM EDT
MONTREAL—Documents obtained by The Gazette show Mayor Michael Applebaum's claims that he had nothing to do with a condo development in Notre-Dame-de-Grace may not be accurate.
In 2008, questions were raised about the use of above-ground electrical wires in the development on Wilson Ave. north of Upper Lachine Rd. The wires go against a city development code adopted in 2004.
Before the project was finished, the city's Electrical Services Commission told councilors that electrical lines should be buried and in a letter in April 2006 the commission clearly writes that above-ground electrical wires could be very dangerous in the case of a fire.
"On new construction they should be put underground and it's a real shame that they weren't," said Peter McQueen, a Project Montreal councilor in NDG.
The commission said in order to service all of the buildings hydro poles would have to be installed closer together than in other locations.
Regardless, the borough soon voted in favor of installing hydro poles—a move which saved Construction FTM Inc, owned by developer Tony Magi, about $1,000,000.
"I find it extremely hard to believe that a director would do something without making sure the mayor's on board," St-Laurent Borough Mayor Alan Desousa said.
Earlier this year Applebaum, who was the mayor of the Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace borough for many years before becoming interim mayor of the entire city in 2012, said he had very little to do with the project.
On Jan. 15 Applebaum said "it was a project that was managed by the housing department downtown. It was not a project that was managed in the borough."
Documents obtained by The Gazette's Linda Gyulai and Marian Scott, however, show Applebaum's name on letters between the borough's director Gaetan Rainville and Serge Boileau, the president of the Electrical Services Commission.
Boileau confirmed on Friday that the CDN-NDG borough actively voted to ignore the city's urban plan which called for all electrical wires to be buried. The bylaw preventing above ground wiring on new construction in the borough was changed in 2009.