Saint-Laurent Takes a First Step Towards the Creation of the Jules Poitras School and Community Hub
In the past month, Saint-Laurent Council layed the groundwork for the Jules-Poitras school and community hub. At its special meeting on June 12, Council agreed to retain professional services to obtain independent estimates, establish a functional and technical plan and hold an architectural competition, in collaboration with the City’s Bureau de design. At the regular meeting on June 30, a report on the results of the public consultation, which took place from November 2019 to March 2020, was also tabled.
This hub will be located on a vacant 15,500 m2 lot, located at the corner of rue Jules-Poitras and boulevard Henri-Bourassa and acquired by Saint-Laurent in 2017. An additional 8,000 m2 of space to the north of this site and also owned by the Borough, will be used as well. Saint-Laurent is therefore taking a pivotal step toward meeting the local services needs of the residents of the Chameran sector, a population that is more vulnerable than ever during the pandemic of COVID-19.
An innovative and mobilizing project
Following a co-creation process including a public consultation, the Saint-Laurent Administration, the Centre de services scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (formerly the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys), residents, community associations as well as pillars of the community, including the key resources—the Centre d’accueil et de référence sociale et économique pour immigrants (CARI St-Laurent), the Centre de pédiatrie sociale de Saint-Laurent/Au cœur de l’enfance, the Centre d’initiatives pour le développement communautaire l’Unité—have together laid the foundations for what will ultimately become an innovative project in Saint-Laurent. In all, more than 250 participants and 9 organizations expressed their views and provided food for thought through interviews, co-creation workshops and a survey. Based on a common vision, the project submitted consists of school, social, community, sports and recreational spaces, including an elementary school, a social pediatrics centre, a teen zone and spaces shared between the Borough and the Centre de services scolaire. Residents and students would be able to benefit from a gymnasium, a library, an outdoor soccer field, a schoolyard and a parking lot.
The Jules Poitras school and community hub has the potential to become a major community services corridor for residents of the Chameran sector. With a population of 15,000, the Chameran sector is an urban enclave located at the eastern end of Saint-Laurent. Identified as a priority area for intervention as far back as 2004, it has been the subject of an integrated urban revitalization process since 2012. Some of the families residing there live below the low income cut-off, are of immigrant origin and nearly half of the children are vulnerable in at least one area of school readiness. As for Henri-Beaulieu school—the only one in the entire sector—it is already at maximum capacity. Students living in the Chameran sector must therefore attend other schools in Saint-Laurent, which contributes to increased traffic in an area already grappling with road safety issues.
Over the next few weeks, the Borough plans to continue its funding efforts, necessary for the project’s implementation, particularly with Ville de Montréal and the various government authorities.
“As an administration, we have a duty to plan for the long-term development of the community and to consider how we can improve the services we offer so that they are fair and diversified. This is a first step within this major project, which has the potential to transform an entire sector and to inspire other sectors or boroughs facing the same challenges.”
Alan DeSousa, Mayor of Saint-Laurent
“We are delighted to be part of this project, which is a concrete response from the community to the needs of children living in highly vulnerable situations in the Chameran sector. Ultimately, the Jules Poitras school and community hub will become a place of reference, where families will be able to find the resources they need for their development.”
Christine Durocher, Executive Director of the Centre de pédiatrie sociale de Saint-Laurent/Au cœur de l’enfance
“Saint-Laurent is a welcoming place where the integration of immigrants is facilitated through various community activities. The establishment of a services hub will create the necessary conditions for immigrant families to live in harmony in their new homeland.”
Aicha Guendafa, Executive Director of CARI St-Laurent
“We applaud the initiative of the Jules Poitras school and community hub, which will enable youngsters in the Chameran sector to take part in many sports, recreational, artistic and educational activities or merely get together in a safe place.
Christian Pellerin, Executive Director of the Centre d’initiatives pour le développement communautaire l’Unité