Dozens of people gathered in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to rally against a condo development that they feel will further gentrify the area.

They’re hoping that with enough pressure, the developer will reconsider the project, which is expected to be completed in 2021.

The Osha development will include 200 condos and townhouse units, with pricing ranging from $179,000 to $375,000.

On Saturday the Osha sales office officially opened, but to a very lukewarm reception. 

Demonstrators gathered on Ste. Catherine and Nicolet streets, with many of them holding signs voicing displeasure with the upcoming construction. 

They didn’t want to see the area gentrified, and instead called for more social housing to be built. 

“There was so much construction of condos,” said Emilie Lecavalier, a low-income housing advocate.

“We don’t want more condos. It’s not what we need. It’s not what the neighbourhood needs. The southwest of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is mostly people who are low income and who live in the neighbourhood. It’s homeless who live here. The consequences will be horrible for those people.”

A spokesperson for Osha said that the project does include 40 community housing units, which will be managed by advocacy group Batir Son Quartier.

Previous controversy

Osha was previously under scrutiny this year for using First Nations imagery and wording in its advertising campaign.

The billboard, which was located on Ontario St., used an illustration of Jacques Cartier interacting with First Nations people, with a picture of a condo underneath.

It also uses the term Osha Aga.

Project critics said it was an example of a third party usurping an element of First Nations culture.

Osha, however, says it’s done its research - though that in itself generated more controversy.

“The term OSHA was was chosen for its historical significance,” read a statement on its website. “According to chief Billy Two Rivers, the name Hochelaga was derived from Osha and Aga, which were given to Jacques Cartier and his group upon their arrival.” 

The page has since been removed, as well as the billboard.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake said that Two Rivers never actually made that claim and that the community did not want to be associated with the project.