The fate of Agrikol, the new Montreal restaurant from Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, and Jen Agg and Roland Jean, of Toronto's The Black Hoof, will likely be decided next month at a Ville-Marie borough council session, reports councillor Steve Shanahan. Work on the multifaceted project on Amherst, between de Maisonneuve and Ontario, has been underway for some time now, but Agrikol's principals require a few permit exemptions in order to proceed. All ordinary stuff, Shanahan told Eater today. "Every council we apply several derogations. Every month, people want different-sized doors, windows, for homes or even for 40-floor skyscrapers. Anything from a backyward shed to an office tower. It's completely run-of-the-mill."
Radio-Canada published a list of Agrikol's derogation requests last week. It includes exceptions for the likes of minimum storey height, proximity to residences, and certain conditions that limit the development of a café-terrasse. "The more important changes that are required involve the usage of the building," declared the councillor for the Peter-McGill district. "There is a process where people who live in the neighbourhood can voice concerns. Once we see those concerns we take them into consideration and weigh them."
Citizens will have the opportunity to express themselves this Wednesday, September 23, at 6 p.m. at the Ville-Marie borough's conference room at Place Dupuis. Attendance at such public consultations is usually sparse. "Nine out of ten times nobody shows up," Shanahan disclosed. "We open the meeting, we hear crickets, and we close the meeting. I don't foresee any problems. I wouldn't be surprised if I see some media types. But anybody can come. It's open and transparent. I want citizens to know that we will engage them, and listen."
No immediate decision will be made about Agrikol's permit demands. That will take place, as reported, next month. "It's not a decisional board," affirmed Shanahan. "There's a secretary who takes notes of the conerns. Those notes are relayed both to the professionals and elected officials at the Ville-Marie borough. If we do get any comments, they will make appropriate recommendations. With all of that, plus the interpretations and decisional briefs that are prepared by the bureaucrats, we will make a decision [about Agrikol's permits], probably at the next borough council, on October 13."
Agrikol's arrival seems to enjoy widespread support among Centre-Sud and Gay Village merchants and residents. "If it complies with regulations on noise, I have no problem with it," announced André Doyon, who lives next door, to Radio-Canada. "It may even bring some popularity to the corner." Jen Agg, who has shuttled back and forth between Toronto and Montreal with Jean for months to get Agrikol off the ground, struck this sanguine note on Twitter today.
How can I put this in a way that's polite and yet still on brand for me? MONTREALS COMING ALONG FINE THANKS SO MUCH FOR ASKING— Jen Agg (@TheBlackHoof) September 21, 2015