Dozens of Côte-des-Neiges residents gathered at a community center to protest the lack of social housing in the area.

The local community groups that organized the event called on the government to include a minimum of 2,500 social housing units in the redevelopment of the Blue Bonnets racetrack off Decarie Boulevard. and prioritize social housing projects already underway in the territory.

“It is essential that the Government of Quebec invests in social housing so that these projects can be realized,” said Catherine Lussier, community organizer with the Front d’action populaire en réménagement urbain (FRAPRU), which took part in the demonstration.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plant has promised to transform the former 75-hectare Blue Bonnets racetrack into an “eco-district” that would include a total of 7,500 housing units, before her re-election.

Lussier said the government had failed to deliver on its promise to provide 15,000 homes and had funded even fewer homes over the past four years.

The Table Habitation Sociale and the Côte-des-Neiges Community Development Corporation (CDC CDN) mention that approximately 2,500 households are on the waiting list for social housing in the area. Many families are desperate to extricate themselves from unsanitary living conditions and rent hikes – nearly 12% of households spend 80% of their income on housing.

Darby MacDonald, a community organizer with Project Genesis in Côte-des-Neiges, said social housing had been a problem for years and had only gotten worse, adding that the area had been ‘underfunded’ for years .

MacDonald believes the Blue Bonnets racetrack project is a “beacon of hope” for low-income Côte-des-Neiges households and those currently waiting for available affordable housing.