Alex Norris, city councillor for Mile End district, will present a motion at the January 24 meeting of Montreal City council opposing the demolition of the Redpath Mansion.
“Gérald Tremblay won office in 2001 by portraying himself as a defender of this heritage building. Now he is turning his back on all of that and ramming through a plan to allow the demolition of this architectural gem. Instead of yielding to pressure from the Sochaczevski family, Gérald Tremblay should defend this heritage building. This magnificent historic site needs to be protected once and for all,” said the Projet Montréal councillor.
Redpath Mansion has been threatened since 1986 when its current owners began to demolish it using a permit that was issued under irregular circumstances. Gérald Tremblay went on to win the city’s mayoralty in 2001 by denouncing his predecessor Pierre Bourque’s failure to defend the building.
Built in 1885, the Redpath Mansion was the home of John Redpath’s family, founder of the sugar refinery that bears his name. The building is one of the rare surviving examples of the Queen Ann style of architecture in the Montreal’s historic Golden Square Mile. Termblay’s decision to allow its demolition comes despite a finding of the Conseil du Patrimoine de Montréal in September 2010 that building’s owner had “behaved as an irresponsible citizen in letting the mansion deteriorate since taking possession of it in 1986.” It comes despite the recommendation of the Conseil, the city’s own heritage-protection advisory body, that the demolition request be rejected. Instead, Mayor Tremblay and his unelected majority on Ville-Marie borough council have overridden local citizens’ and heritage groups’ objections and adopted a resolution authorizing the mansion’s demolition and allowing a new 7-story luxury condominium tower to be built in its place.
Norris hopes his motion will prod the Tremblay administration into respecting its own Heritage Policy adopted in 2005. “By agreeing to the demolition of this heritage building, Mayor Tremblay is doing exactly what he denounced in 2001″ he noted. “Redpath Mansion can be saved and redeveloped. But for that to happen, we need an administration that will not yield to the demands of its current negligent owners.”
Pierre Mainville, cty councillor for Sainte-Marie district, supports the steps being taken by his colleague on city council. “Montreal’s architectural treasures must be protected,” he said. Mainville voted against the motion authorizing demolition of the Redpath Mansion.