Public hearings on Entertainment district
Published Tuesday, June 9, 2009 11:04PM EDT
The Main was home to wave after wave of immigrants as they arrived in Montreal.
But the city says the area around St. Laurent and Ste. Catherine has become neglected and decrepit.
Now a developer wants to put up two buildings that will wipe out the final traces of Montreal's once famous red light district.
S.D.A., the company which developed the Angus Yards, is proposing new construction at the corner of St. Laurent and Ste. Catherine street.
Public hearings into the project took place on Tuesday night.
Some of those who remember the neighbourhood in its more colourful days came to the hearings to object to the plan.
One building in particular, a proposed 12 stories high, is coming in for a lot of criticism from Montrealers like Tommy Monahan.
"We just can't keep moving people out of neighbourhoods and denying that the culture exists," said Monahan.
He is one of many people who would rather see the area be renovated instead of bulldozed.
Another objection to the plan is the expropriation of Club Cleopatra. It's been in the area since the late 1800s.
Burlesque performers at Club Cleopatra are trying to save their venue. On Saturday night they gathered 1300 names on a petition sent off to city hall.
Many supporters, such as Viviane Namaste from the Simone de Beauvoir institute, find the desire to destroy the club strange.
"It's a bit ironic proposing a project that would get rid of that salle de spactacle to create a context where we could promote salles de spectacles," said Namaste
Jacques Lachapelle is a professor at Universite de Montreal. He fears development will wipe away the "Montrealness of Montreal."
"A certain kind of urban life that architecture allows, which is not the same as an office building" is at risk, according to Lachapelle.
With $150 million riding on this project, the developer wants a quick answer.