Another Dorval City Council meeting was dominated by increasingly anxious residents who are demanding answers about the fate of the McConnell Property. Mayor Edgar Rouleau announced that the Council consented to make a $15.1M bid from the city to the trustee. As of September 4, there has been no answer. The room was filled with skepticism and a constant barrage of questions.
Question Period on August 21 opened with the organizer of the “Save Dorval’s Woods and Shore” petition, Chantal Ducharme. As in her many other appearances, the passionate resident pleaded with the council to be proactive in the pursuit of the McConnell property. She updated the total signatories on the petition, 1836, and reiterated the demands.
Mayor Rouleau explained that the council have been answering the citizens’ requests by forwarding the bid to the trustee and looking into all options for partnerships and sponsors. « The sellers are aware that if we buy, it will not be to develop but to make a park. We didn`t get any negative response at this time, which is good, » he explained.
The ongoing struggle for the future of the 540,000 square foot property is frustrating for both parties. With the bid made, the Council have done all they can to this point, but the area is private property and zoned as residential which means it can be sold to whomever the owners choose.
There were many doubters about the efforts made. Questions about increased tax dollars from a housing development, and a lack of belief that Dorval was truly maximizing their efforts in acquiring the lot persisted. As Christine Cachia put it, « If the city was serious, they should have offered $20 to $30 million.”
After the meeting, the Mayor pointed out that the costs would end up being well over the $15.1M bid, with taxes and the clean-up needed on the property. « And that`s not including the upkeep, lighting, park development and other improvements and repairs needed on the structures. These are things we must also consider, » he said.
An answer from the trustees was expected by the end of August.