The City of Montreal is turning over another major plot of land to developers to build more housing units – but this time, the Plante Administration is trying a new approach.

The plot of land, nestled between Louvain, St. Hubert, Christophe Colomb and a railroad track in Ahunstic-Cartierville, is the equivalent, size-wise, to eight football fields.

Some of the space is being used by Montreal’s Public Works department, but there’s a movement afoot to turn it in to a community-oriented housing development for up to 1000 families.

“The community has been mobilized for about 20 years, officially or formally, in order to determine the impact on that lot with this lot of land,” explained Ana Pranjic from Solidarite Ahuntsic.

The organization says it wants to avoid a high concentration of expensive high rises dominating the area, and instead favour something down-to-earth and affordable.

“Urban agriculture, inclusion of school, maybe a library – have different types of housing for different types of populations,” Pranjic added.

The borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville announced yesterday it would partner with the community organization to figure out a plan.

The new development is expected to include a fair amount of subsidized housing. The neighbourhood also has a high proportion of new immigrants who need affordable apartments. 

There will be public consultations, but some residents are already raising concerns, saying the community needs to focus on housing for seniors.

It could take a long time before the buildings get off the ground. The city admits it has no timetable, no deadline, and no precise budget for the time being - which means this empty lot could potentially remain empty for years to come.

With a report from CTV News' Stephane Giroux.