The first phase of one of the largest revitalization projects in Laval will soon be completed. An initiative that aims to breathe new life into the Val-Martin district.

South of Notre-Dame Boulevard, east of Curé-Labelle Boulevard, 75 social housing units (out of a targeted total of 357) and a community center are finishing being built in a brand new neighborhood designed with LEED ecological certification in mind. .

This is an innovative densification of land which previously contained 124 dilapidated social housing units. It paves the way for a much larger real estate development, north of Notre-Dame Boulevard. Ultimately, the Val-Martin district should include around 1,000 social and community housing units and 1,000 private housing units.

“It’s a very important project in Laval,” says Mayor Stéphane Boyer, who began to take an interest in the fate of the neighborhood when he was a municipal councilor in 2013.

The Val-Martin district, with a total area of ​​17 hectares, is immense. In the 1950s, 534 housing units were built there, then converted into social housing in the 1970s. There are also a few private properties, north of Notre-Dame Boulevard. This is one of the five sectors targeted by the integrated urban revitalization (RUI) approach of the Chomedey district, in the City of Laval. Given the scale of the challenge, it was decided to proceed in stages, while keeping in mind the overall vision of the redevelopment of the site.

The smaller section south of Notre-Dame Boulevard had a large number of vacant homes. It became the first phase of the project and was the subject of extensive reflection in 2017, led by the Laval Municipal Housing Office.

“It is not a common practice, in the development of social and community housing, to bring together all the professionals and take a moment to think about an entire sector,” underlines Yann Omer-Kassin, development coordinator at the Technical Resources Group. Build your Neighborhood. This was done because the City really wanted to contribute to the redevelopment of the area, which raised all sorts of concerns. »

Those who remained on site were relocated and the buildings were all destroyed, leaving the way open to densify the land and integrate a community center, opening onto a park.

The 124 public housing units to be rebuilt were grouped into three buildings of three and four floors. As they occupy less space, four other buildings comprising a total of 233 social and community housing units, from the AccèsLogis Québec program, as well as the future Simonne-Monet-Chartrand community center and green spaces were gradually added.

Nothing was easy, neither being able to agree on positioning the buildings so that everything breathes nor the coordination of the different programs, points out Hughes Daly, vice-president architecture of the Ædifica agency, which ensured the design of the real estate complex, plans and specifications as well as site monitoring for Habitations Val-Martin, OMH de Laval.

The objectives were clear. “In addition to densifying the site, we wanted to create a safe place, therefore open to others, which meets the needs of the community, which people would make their own,” explains the architect. Building a sense of belonging involves a lot of traffic and the way people and their neighbors live in the place. The City also requested that the development of the district be LEED, while respecting budgets. It was a mammoth exercise, but everyone responded well. For example, almost all buildings have underground parking, to create more green spaces and a real living environment. »

This vision will inspire the revitalization of the land north of Notre-Dame Street, at the planning stage, underlines Sylvain Piché, general director of the Office municipal d’habitation de Laval. “What was achieved by densifying the land, occupied by 124 HLM housing units, is unique in Canada,” he believes. Usually, the entire home is built before putting the services in place. Here, the opposite was done, building the community center from the start. This will benefit the entire community. »

The revitalization of Val-Martin is part of the vision of Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer, who, through all projects submitted to the City, seeks to improve the well-being of his fellow citizens.

“A neighborhood is a living environment,” he explains. I see it beyond the bricks and the cost of rent. People need to feel good, they need to feel safe, they need to have access to local shops. You don’t have to drive 3 miles to the grocery store. »

Anticipating the construction of approximately 1,700 housing units of various types for varied clienteles in phase 2 of Val-Martin, north of Notre-Dame Boulevard, the mayor also plans the commissioning of a new means of public transportation ‘ten years from now.

“We are working on a project for lanes reserved for buses along the boulevards de la Concorde and Notre-Dame,” he explains. When we have thousands of families, hundreds of whom are often destitute, young people must have access to employment centers and education centers. They must not remain isolated in their neighborhood. Having access to public transportation, which is easy and quick, is important for the social development of young people. It’s a concern that I have for this neighborhood, but also for the rest of the city. »