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Major development plan for eastern Pointe-Saint-Charles leaves housing groups wary

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Montreal -

Montreal has major plans to develop an industrial area just south of downtown called the Bridge Bonaventure sector.

The city hopes families will soon call this eastern part of Pointe-Saint-Charles home.

"It's more a piece of charcoal [that is] going to be a diamond soon," said Robert Beaudry, city councillor and executive committee member.

While earlier ideas for the area involved a possible baseball stadium at the Peel Basin, newly unveiled plans could instead see close to 4,000 units built in the area. More than 1,200 of them would be social or affordable housing.

Beaudry says the number of jobs will increase threefold.

"We want to triple the number of jobs here [to] about 6,000. Jobs in clean tech, in culture industry, in [tourism]."

But housing and community groups fear developing the area could lead to higher rents.

"We have about more than 1,000 families that pay more than half of their income for their rent," said Francis Dolan of the Pointe-Saint-Charles housing committee, who says he's worried the project wont provide adequate social housing options to those who need it. 

"There's an extremely important housing crisis in Montreal right now," said Karine Triollet of Action-Gardien, a local community development group.

Triollet worries about what will happen if the Peel Basin is sold to a large developer.

"It will have an effect not only in the Bridge Bonaventure sector, but in all of Pointe-Saint-Charles."

The city will present its vision to Montreal's public consultation office by the fall, with the hope of work getting underway in 2024.

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