Construction on the $50-million redevelopment of Montreal Road is scheduled to start this month, giving a dramatic facelift to one of Vanier’s most bustling corridors.
The new proposed design will completely overhaul the street from North River Road to the Vanier Parkway and includes burying unsightly hydro lines, widening sidewalks and the installation of raised cycling tracks.
The Vanier BIA is working closely with the city to mitigate the impact of the three-year construction project on businesses in the area.
Preserving parking spots, ensuring customers can still reach businesses and keeping loading zones clear are some of the issues the BIA is already discussing with the city.
However, Nathalie Carrier – the BIA’s executive director – is encouraging Vanier businesses to be part of the conversation.
“The BIA is there to be the voice of businesses – please let me know (your) biggest concerns,” she said.
Mario Kotowski, a senior engineer with the city, said construction preparatory work along the Montreal Road corridor is expected to begin the week of May 6 and will focus on traffic signal work starting at North River Road working towards St. Laurent Boulevard. The work is expected to take place over the next eight weeks.
Kotowski added traffic disruptions associated with the traffic signal work will occur primarily during off-peak hours to minimize the impact on commuters.
During the summer, one lane will be closed along Montreal Road, between North River Road and the Vanier Parkway.
Two lanes may have to be closed between the Vanier Parkway and Marier Avenue due to Hydro Ottawa and Enbridge Gas work.
Next spring, Montreal Road will be reduced to one lane in each direction between North River Road and St. Laurent Boulevard as the main construction work starts.
To help keep the lines of communication open, the city is holding a merchants-only information drop-in session on May 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Centre Pauline-Charron.
Ahead of the session, the city said it will keep a focus on ensuring businesses remain accessible and minimizing disruptions during construction, which is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2021.
The renewal of Montreal Road is just one initiative – albeit a major one – that’s helping to shape Vanier’s future.
In addition to the roadwork, the city also recently announced new financial incentives to encourage landowners to redevelop their properties.
Under the Community Improvement Plan – which is also being used in Bells Corners and Orléans – landowners along Montreal Road, between North River Road and the Aviation Parkway, will be eligible to receive a grant based on the additional taxes arising from the higher assessed value of their redeveloped property.
The idea is to assist and encourage landowners to invest in underutilized properties or buildings in need of renovation.
Carrier said the city incentives will allow businesses to grow with a social, cultural and community mindset.
“This is very important because it opens the door to bigger developments and it drives what we have been pushing for – we need condos paired with affordable housing, with a buy-in for community use,” Carrier said.
The CIP incentives are even higher for projects that include space for affordable housing, cultural activities or social enterprises. Such projects are eligible for a grant equal to 100 per cent of their municipal tax increase, up from the regular 75 per cent.
The city said the Montreal Road CIP focuses on the specific needs of the community to encourage the development of affordable housing, cultural activities and social enterprises and will create more jobs.
“It’s Vanier’s time,” said Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, adding this is the first time the city has combined a community improvement plan with a reconstruction project. “There’s never been a better time for businesses in Vanier.”