Motion for the protection of churches in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

Motion tabled before the Côte-des-Neiges--Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough council meeting on March 6th, 2017.

Whereas the Trinity Memorial Anglican church, located at the corner of Sherbrooke St. West and Marlowe Avenue, celebrated its final mass on 26 February 2017, and that the archdiocese has reportedly put the building up for sale;

Whereas the NDG Food Depot has expanded and thrived over the last three years in the large, bright, basement of Trinity Memorial and is having great difficulty finding an acceptable alternative home; 

Whereas the St. Columba church and parish hall, located at the corner of Hingston Avenue and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Avenue, and  sold in 2013 to a private developer, are now empty and at risk of serious deterioration;

Whereas the register which was opened regarding the plan to demolish the church of St. Columba received 224 signatures from local residents, showing the popular will to preserve NDG’s built heritage, even if modest in appearance.

Whereas other churches in NDG may become empty in the coming years, due to changing demographics and spiritual practices; 

Whereas many charitable, educational, social and cultural groups in NDG are looking for space in our community;

Whereas church basements or parish halls, with their large kitchens and multiple bathrooms, could be used as rallying points in the event of a disaster or emergency; 

Whereas places of worship are meeting and gathering places, organically tied to their communities, and that their destruction or transformation towards private residential use should be avoided and considered as an important loss of sense of community, identity and solidarity;

It is proposed by Peter McQueen, councillor for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and seconded by Magda Popeanu, councillor for Côte-des-Neiges :

That the borough communicate with the owners of  both Trinity Memorial and St. Columba churches and make clear that it will not allow any demolition and any lowering of green space on their lots for private development;

That the borough press the Direction de l’urbanisme of the City of Montreal to reach a conclusion about the restoration of St. Columba church in its list of heritage buildings, given that this issue has been pending for several months now;

That the borough declare that the passing of this motion is a clear indication to all church owners in NDG that their buildings cannot be sold for demolition and private development, since their tax free status implies that they have a responsibility towards the community.