Martin C. Barry
Three years after elected officials with the City of Laval decided to provide the city with a brand new master urban plan starting from scratch, the final version of the document was unveiled at city hall last week and approved by city council.
Move in the right direction
For Mayor Marc Demers, who presented the document to media on Aug. 9, the moment was no less than historic. Considering that the previous urban plan hadn’t been updated since the early 1990s and the administration that created it was at best complacent, according to the mayor a new plan was almost unmistakably a move in the right direction.
For Demers, the moment was not only historic, but also signified a new way of proceeding with urban planning in Laval. “Improvisation is finished in urban development in the City of Laval and welcome to careful planning,” he said, while adding that the new planning method wasn’t decided by one person or even a committee of officials, but by the population of the city as a whole who were consulted.
‘Important moment,’ says mayor
“The adoption of the revised master urban planning and development project is an important moment for Laval,” continued Demers. “We thank all those who shared their thoughts with us and who greatly contributed to the improvement of it.
“We are especially proud of the road we travelled since the adoption of the first project, notably with regards to the protection of natural areas. The latest improvements made to the document bear witness to our determination to solidify our vision of urban by nature.”
Key changes in plan
The new version makes several key adjustments to the basic urban planning regulations and was developed in conjunction with public consultations that were held by the city last spring. Here are some of the changes:
The Souvenir Woods have been designated a green space of interest and the proposed extension of Souvenir Blvd. has been removed. More than five hectares of the de l’Équerre woods have been added to the plan for conservation.
As well, an area bounded by Marcel Villeneuve and Roger Lortie avenues and railway tracks known as the Totem woods has been designated as being of interest and its previous industrial/commercial status has been dropped.
Building heights controlled
Demers said the equivalent of 3,300 hectares of territory in Laval are now protected in the new document. At the same time, elaborate regulations are in place for the time to control building heights. While this aspect will reassure a number of residents who were concerned about the uncontrolled proliferation of high-rise towers, Demers pointed out that developers will also be able to know first-hand from now on where they can build without ambiguity.
The plan, which now will be undergoing an approval process by the National Assembly, is expected to come into effect before the end of this year. The City of Laval’s actual urban planning by-laws will be undergoing rigorous revisions over the next two years with the principles set out in the new master urban plan serving as template for the adjustments.