Development in Buckingham divides council, residents lose fight to stop the project
Despite the efforts of Nicole and Michelle Carrière, Buckingham residents, to stop the demolition and development of a neighboring property, the council’s divided vote at the October 17 council meeting means the project will go forward as planned. This came as a surprise as earlier in the day during the preparatory meeting, an indicatif vote was taken, at that time council voted to stop the demolition.
In early June, Gatineau published the demolition request for the single-family home at 784 avenue de Buckingham. The proposed project for the cleared land would be a 3-storey, 24-unit apartment building.
According to Gatineau’s project analysis, the home targeted by the demolition request was built in 1945 but holds no heritage value. The house is in good condition and it is safe and habitable, according to the applicant and the photos provided in support of the application. It is currently occupied by the building's former owner. The municipal evaluation of the property states that the home is valued at $82,700, while the property is valued at $96,900.
The Demolition Request Committee (CDD) approved the demolition with the support of Gatineau’s Urbanism and Sustainable Development Service (SUDD).
Nicole and Michelle Carrière, are opposing the proposed plan. Having lived on their property for 54 years, the couple has concerns about the increased circulation on the already busy road and that the building would be overlooking their backyard. “We are not against densification; we understand its importance. However, we are against densification without thinking of the impact on citizens and how it would fit into the already built neighbourhood,” said Nicole Carrière.
The proposed construction was made possible due to a zoning change in 2021, which allowed for four-storey buildings. Carrière says, “It’s difficult to keep up with all the changes and to know when a change affects your neighbourhood. We only found out about this change this year when we learned about the demolition.”
That segment of the road has 29 homes, and adding 24 units nearly doubles the area's residential density. The Carrières circulated a petition that gathered the support of approximately 100 residents in the area.
Following city processes, the couple has opposed the decision made by the committee and met with the Municipal Council on September 28 where they made their case against the project. The developer also voiced his case in favour of the project. During the municipal council meeting on October 17, the council’s vote was split, 9 in favor and 9 against the motion to overturn the CDD’s approval of the demolition. This means the motion was reject and the demolition will go forward as planned.
“I understand the concerns of the neighbours,” said Dale Owen, the developer and owner of the property and Gestion Dale Owen Inc. “I made sure to talk to residents near the property to hear their concerns. The proposed development respects all the City’s zone rules. The problem here is not with the development but with the city’s change in zoning laws, which allow for the project.”
According to Nicole Carrière, they offered to buy the property, as is their right when a property faces demolition, but Owen refused the offer. Instead, the developer offered to buy their property. This is not the first time a construction project of Owen’s has been opposed. He says that this year, his project proposal for 716 rue Maple was rejected by the Municipal Council.
Photo caption: Outline of the 784 avenue de Buckingham property which would house the 24-unit, 3-storey apartment building.
Photo credit: Courtesy of the city of Gatineau