From The Gazette

Ile Perrot

Île hopes to breathe new life into town core

  • Gérard Farmer's Centre Serca is the lone business to take advantage of a subsidy program to improve the look of the town's commercial sector.
    Gérard Farmer's Centre Serca is the lone business to take advantage of a subsidy program to improve the look of the town's commercial sector.
    Photo credit: Graham Hughes/ The Gazette

The town of Île Perrot believes it can replace car traffic with pedestrians to bring new life to its downtown sector.

The businesses on Grand Blvd. and Perrot Blvd. have been languishing for four years since Transport Quebec closed the street to traffic from Highway 20, at the western end of the Galipeault Bridge.

“We used to get between 400 and 500 vehicles per hour at peak times,” said Gérard Farmer, the president of the Association des gens d’affaires de l’Île Perrot. “Now, it’s maybe 10.”

Two years ago, the town hired Fondation Rues Principales to help make the area more pedestrian friendly and to attract new businesses. Last year, the town created a subsidy program to give grants of up to $20,000 for businesses to renovate their façades, and another $1,000 for new signs to promote their businesses.

Farmer, who owns the Centre Serca pet store, kennel, and guard dog business is the lone businessman to take advantage of the program so far.

“I appreciate the initiative, but I’m just a little upset there aren’t so many participants.”

The town will be presenting its vision for a revitalized downtown sector at a public consultation to be held at Town Hall next Monday.

Sébastien Carrière, the director of town planning, said the idea is to give the area a facelift to make it more pedestrian friendly like the Pointe Claire Village or old Dorion. The town is also actively recruiting businesses that it thinks will draw pedestrian traffic to the area.

“We want to concentrate the nucleus of the village into one area,” Carrière said. “If we have commercial areas all over the place, there will never be a real downtown.”

The problem, however, is that Île Perrot doesn’t seem to have much of a pedestrian culture. Residents are in the habit of getting in their cars when they want to make a purchase, as evidenced by the numerous shopping malls and big box stores on the island.

Farmer, however, believes the town can change that mentality.

“I don’t want to get in my car and drive 20 minutes to Vaudreuil, but I have to because everything is there.”

He said the town should work in conjunction with the town of Pincourt, which is also trying to revitalize its downtown.

He said if there are interesting stores, cafés and restaurants, people will stay in the area. But he added the town needs to make it easier for businesses to set up shop, saying it can be difficult to get a business permit in Île Perrot.

“We want it to be more attractive for people to come, but we also have to make it more attractive for businesses.”

Carrière said the town is also readying a revision to its urban plan for the sector. It plans to revise the zoning for the area to create more high-density residential buildings.

Mayor Marc Roy said the buildings will likely be five or six storeys high with condos, and businesses on the ground floor, which is a change from the current three-storey limit.

“That will bring the people that are needed so that there can be enough traffic for shops, and cafés,” Roy said, adding that it’s a good location for condos because of its proximity to the train station.

The town is expected to give a notice of motion for the change to its urban plan at its next council meeting. A public consultation will be held to present the proposed change either next month, or in March.

jmagder@montrealgazette.com
Twitter: @OffIslandNews
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