Village core: establishing a comprehensive plan
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The village of Sutton is very attractive for its inhabitants as well as for its visitors. The cultural, artistic, sporting and commercial offer is abundant and diversified. The quality of life is unanimously recognized. While its vitality is felt throughout the territory, its heart beats in the center of the village, a meeting point and a neuralgic passage.
In order to highlight its existing assets and its capacity for innovation, the Town of Sutton has decided to put in place a process of dialogue and citizen consultation to define, by December 2022, a comprehensive plan for the village core that will shape its future.
In 2021, a first step was taken to fully analyze the studies conducted over the past several years. In May 2022, meetings were initiated with various community stakeholders, experts and interest groups, which will end with two major public consultations in October, in order to collectively draw the outline of a comprehensive plan for the village core.
Several sites in the center of the village are targeted by this process: Principale and Maple Streets, the John-Sleeth Cultural and Community Centre, the Sutton Museum of Communications and History and the former Filtex factory site. Together and separately, they offer a high potential for improvement and dynamization of our village heart, for the well-being of our present and future population.
Presentation of the concerned sites
Principale and Maple Streets
Principale Street (or Route 139) and Maple Street are the two main traffic arteries in the heart of the village. Traffic can be heavy depending on the time of day or week.
Both streets fall under the jurisdiction of the Government of Quebec. It is therefore the Ministry of Transport that has the authority to make decisions regarding the development of the street to ensure the proper flow of traffic, signage, and safety of the surrounding area.
In 2005, the Town buried the overhead electrical and telecommunications networks on Principale Street between the two railroad tracks. This transformation has significantly improved the urban landscape.
With the popularity of cycling and the growth of tourism, Principale Street is undergoing several considerations regarding pedestrian safety (sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, signage), speed limits and traffic during peak periods.
The Department of Transportation is considering upgrading Principale Street and Maple Street in the next few years. The public should take this opportunity to express their views on potential improvements.
John-Sleeth Cultural and Community Centre
The building, which dates back to 1885, was built by Mr. Olmstead, Sutton’s first mayor. The building housed the English school of Sutton Academy for 75 years and then the French school Ave Maria until 1986. It is currently used to house four non-profit organizations: Jardin d’enfants de Sutton, Maison des jeunes de Sutton, Arts Sutton and Bibliothèque Sutton Library. The site enjoys a large wooded lot and an enviable location in the heart of the village.
However, the deterioration of the building is being felt under the weight of the years. In November 2019, the Town conducted studies on its condition and durability. At the time, the work was estimated to cost several million dollars. The heritage rating given to this building does not allow access to financial support from the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications. In order to ensure the safety of existing tenants, the Town must make decisions about the future of the building.
The Sutton Museum of Communications and History
The museum building originally housed the stables of the adjacent opulent house, built in the late 19th century by Adolphus Greely. His son, Elwin Bernard Greely, was twice mayor of Sutton. Acquired by Edmund Ebert in 1962, the residence was transformed into an inn. It is currently home to the La Fontaine restaurant.
Edmund Ebert opens a museum in 1984 in the old stables. The Sutton Museum of Communications and History, created in 2000, manages the collection and organizes exhibitions. Open to the public for five months of the year, the building, which has been owned by the Town since 1998, is not insulated and requires major renovations.
The site of the former Filtex factory
The land is located in the old Sutton station zone. This quadrangle was completely destroyed in 1898 by a large fire that destroyed thirty-five buildings in total. The station was quickly put back on its feet and the enthusiasm for the reconstruction was great. In 1902, a campaign was launched to promote the village, extolling its attractions: clean air, clear waters, fishing, hunting, mountain walks, magnificent scenery, proximity to Montreal (two hours by the Montreal-Boston express train) and safety. In 1939, the Sutton Silk Mills manufacturing company, which would become Filtex, settled there. It became an economic engine and an important employer in Sutton until its closure in 2004. In its heyday, the company employed over 200 workers.
Acquired by the municipality in 2017, the Filtex buildings had to be demolished in 2019 for safety reasons. Since 2020, the site has been the subject of several reflection processes in order to find a new vocation for it.
The Town of Sutton has made public the results of the survey that was launched last December asking for public opinion on the proposals that resulted from the Dream Sutton process impacting the village core. The survey received 1116 responses.
This survey was not a vote and has no referendum value. It does not pretend to justify decisions that will be made by the municipal council in keeping with the budget and social acceptability. Its purpose was to simply take the pulse of public opinion, to see the reactions trends towards concrete projects that emerged during the consultation process of Dream Sutton on the “Village core: establishing a comprehensive plan”.
“The survey was anonymous because, again, it was not a vote,” said Mayor Robert Benoît. “The Town wanted to respect the confidentiality of the respondents as we did with the family and seniors survey. It may not have been perfect, but it was the first of its kind, bringing to the table broad-based thinking, asking the broader population about issues that affect our entire village. It is part of a participatory process that has finally allowed us to make great strides. I would like to thank all those who have sincerely participated in this democratic game.”
The questions asked in the survey focused on seven main themes: Main Street, Maple Street, Mobility: parking lots and paths, The site of the former Filtex factory, Cultural infrastructures, Community infrastructures and Special projects. There was fairly clear consensus on some proposals that could be implemented in the relatively short term, such as reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h between the two crossings on Principale Street, connecting Depot Street to Pine Street and Western Street, creating parking lots on the former Filtex factory site, and adding walking trails around the village core.
The longer-term subject of community infrastructure, including the community centre, continues to be sensitive and divisive. “We did not expect a unanimous response on the renovation or demolition of the John-Sleeth Centre, as the debate is still very much alive,” commented the Mayor. “But it was important to take stock of the opinions expressed. Now that the momentum is there, we will work with the group of organizations that have been mobilized on this community issue and we will present different scenarios to the public, based on financial analyses. The consultation process is not over!”
Following the initial consultation process of May 2022, the Town of Sutton is launching a major survey for its population to gather opinions on the various options proposed within the framework of the Dream Sutton project “Village core: establishing a comprehensive plan”. This survey is accompanied by the summary report of all the citizen meetings and consultations which were organized during the course of this process.
A seven-part survey
The survey is addressed exclusively to the residents of Sutton over 15 years of age, owners, and renters, permanent and temporary. The survey is divided into seven parts covering the main themes at the heart of these discussions: Principale Street, Maple Street, Mobility: Parking Lots and Paths, the Former Filtex Factory Site, Cultural Infrastructures, Community Infrastructures and Special Projects.
People are being asked to give their opinion on concrete proposals that resulted from all these consultations and the ideas of the Town and the public. This survey consists of forty-seven questions, of which the first four are for statistical purposes only. Citizens have until December 31, 2022, to respond. The survey is online, and paper copies will also be made available at the front desk reception of Town Hall. Responses are anonymous and confidential. [To access the survey in English: click in the upper right corner to change the language.]
The results of the survey will be announced in February 2023 and will be considered by Town Council. The council will then be asked to make decisions on the options selected, taking into account any studies that may be required to evaluate their feasibility.
The summary report of the consultations
To support this survey, the Town of Sutton is simultaneously publishing the summary report of the consultations submitted by Julie Lavallée. Ms. Lavallée’s mandate was to accompany the Town in its long consultation process. She orchestrated all the citizen meetings that took place between May and November 2022, encompassing nine brainstorming sessions with different targeted groups, two public meetings and an interactive exhibition that was open to the public during four weekends. This allowed us to get to the bottom of the issues impacting our population.
More than 430 people took part in person in this democratic process which is considerable in relation to the size of our population (4548 inhabitants in 2021, or 9.6%). And this is not including the online participation of citizens who published their comments or proposals directly on the website of Dream Sutton, under the heading Ideas Wall.
“We were impressed by the magnitude of so many citizens mobilizing towards this project that is close to our hearts,” said Mayor Robert Benoît. “The future of the village core concerns the entire population, present and future. We really intend to act so that in the near future, the projects that have been agreed upon will see the light of day. I wish to thank all citizens for their participation.”
In the summer of 2022, one of the Town’s brainstorming sessions brought together a citizen’s group including local architects, designers, and planners.
These skilled people who were highly motivated by the process, visualized together a professional plan for the town core of Sutton. They did so voluntarily. Their community-oriented ideas revolve around a new public square and a new community center at the heart of the village. Pedestrian/bicycle routes are subtly woven into the landscape and parking is decentralized.
The Town of Sutton would like to thank Elisabeth Bouchard, Rebecca Bourque, Ilana Cantin, Renée D’Amours, Colette Roy, Emmanuelle Tittley and mister Alain Bergeron, Gilles Lavoie and Stéphane Lessard for their great ideas and their citizen participation.
This plan is a proposal that will continue to evolve. Please feel free to share your ideas and comments in the Ideas Wall section!
October 20, 2022 will mark the opening of the interactive exhibition concerning the reflections on the future of the village core. The population is invited to come and learn about the steps of the current process. The following information documents will be presented :
- Study reports analyzed for the process;
- Overall plans of the village core;
- History of the different municipal sites concerned;
- Notes from the brainstorming sessions held since June 2022;
- Plans proposed by local architects and designers consulted;
- Aerial views of the sites in photos and videos.
Two public meetings are scheduled for October 26 (in French) and 27 (in English) where citizens will be able to ask questions in person, participate in the discussions, exchange on the subject and leave suggestions and opinions on site or online. Mayor Robert Benoit will be present at each session.
The key topics are: Principale and Maple Streets, the John-Sleeth Cultural and Community Centre, the Sutton Museum of Communications and History and the former Filtex factory site.
The interactive exhibit will remain open to the public on weekends until November 13, 2022.
It’s time to have your say on the future of the village core!
Opening on Thursday, October 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Open Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. from October 22 to November 13, 2022
at the Sutton Museum of Communications and History
Wednesday, October 26, 2022, from 7 to 9 pm, in French
Thursday, October 27, from 7 to 9 p.m., in English
at the Sutton Museum of Communications and History
Several brainstorming sessions were conducted with various representative groups in Sutton. Participants were invited to reflect individually and collectively on a comprehensive plan for the village core. The process aimed to gather as much information as possible, particularly all the needs, proposals, apprehensions, ideas and suggestions of people concerned with the development of the three municipal sites. The results of these sessions, and the ideas that emerged, will be compiled in a report that will be made public by the end of 2022.
The sessions were organized by interest or specialist group in order to gather a wide range of ideas and expertise.
- Community and cultural organizations
- Entrepreneurs and merchants
- Institutional partners
- Citizens (French and English sessions) COMING SOON
- Architects, planners, designers, builders
- City councillors
- City administrative staff
The meetings with the citizens will take place at the Museum of Communications and History of Sutton where an interactive exhibit will present the information documents related to the process: studies, plans, summaries of the brainstorming meetings.
Come participate and contribute to the reflection!
Course of the brainstorming sessions :
- Explanation of the process
- Portrait of Sutton and the village core
- Synthesis of previous studies
- Presentation of community sites and real estate potential
- Cultural, sports and recreational life in Sutton
- Mobility issues
How would you define Sutton in one word?
The people consulted during the brainstorming sessions agreed to spontaneously give a word that would define Sutton according to them. The result was very beautiful: look at all the words that came out!
Citizens, adults and children, will be able to add their own word by visiting the interactive exhibition at the Sutton Museum. The Town will make a final panel of these definitions.
The Town of Sutton has decided to implement a process of consultation and dialogue with its citizens in order to define, by December 2022, a comprehensive plan for the village core that will outline its future.
At the end of 2021, it undertook a complete analysis of the studies carried out on the three municipal sites over the past several years: the John-Sleeth Community and Cultural Centre, the Sutton Museum of Communications and History and the former Filtex factory site. In June 2022, the Town then began a consultation process with various community stakeholders, experts and local interest groups to gather as much information as possible to present to the public.
Brainstorming sessions were held from June to September 2022. These sessions allowed us to gather opinions and suggestions by interest group, while surveying the needs of our community and cultural organizations and those of the general population.
Among Sutton’s named priority needs:
- Increasing the supply of housing in the village with an emphasis on affordability.
- Protecting and enhancing the rural character of the area and the village.
- Determine the best location for a public plaza for socialization.
- Develop the best options for meeting community and cultural needs.
- Create an active mobility route through the village to highlight its cultural and community attractions.
- Define the optimal plan for traffic flow in the Village.
In October 2022, an interactive exhibition will be launched at the Museum of Communications and History of Sutton to allow the entire population to learn about the results of the first part of the process. Two public meetings are then planned for October 26 and 27, 2022 to answer questions and take the pulse of the population, which will then be able to give its opinion and suggestions based on the information gathered.
By December 2022, various proposals will have emerged that will allow us to collectively draw the broad outlines of a comprehensive plan for the village core. These proposals will be submitted by survey to the entire population. Afterwards, the selected projects will be analyzed on their cost and feasibility.
See the timeline on the right.
In February 2020, a public exhibition was held at the Arts Sutton gallery to present to the population the models of a village core reinvented by architecture students from the Université de Montréal. This project, supported by the Town of Sutton and directed by their professor, gave these students the opportunity to carry out an important structured work, aiming at imagining a redevelopment of the place.
The exhibition attracted many visitors, curious to see their ideas and proposals. Their work encouraged discussion: comments and suggestions from citizens were collected during the exhibition. Specific needs were named: common picnic areas, green spaces, opportunity to admire the landscape, dual purpose pond, gathering space (amphitheatre or community hall), sanitary space (toilets, outdoor shower), parking, bicycle and pedestrian space for mobility in the village core, conservation of the site’s heritage and history.
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Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions:
What do we mean by "village core"?
The village core of Sutton which is the focus of this major consultation is delineated on the north-south axis between Tarte Park and the Sutton School of Art, and on the east-west axis between bicycle path and Highland Street.
What is the "Village core: establishing a comprehensive plan" project?
This project is a follow-up to Action Sutton’s electoral platform commitments to create a comprehensive plan for the village. In order to set the process in motion, the Town has established a clear action plan that consists of a series of activities between now and the end of 2022: to synthesize all existing analyses and reports on the various sites concerned, to hold brainstorming sessions with experts and local interest groups and to present all this information to the population before establishing a comprehensive plan. By “Sutton’s village core”, we mean the area bounded by the north-south axis (Route 139) by Tartre Park to the north and the Sutton School of Art to the south, and on the other axis, by the bicycle path and Highland Street.
What is the purpose of this project?
The objective of the “Dream Sutton” project is to establish a comprehensive plan for the village core concerning its main community and cultural sites: the John-Sleeth Community and Cultural Centre, the former Filtex factory site, the Sutton Museum of Communications and History, both Principale and Maple Streets, to which other sites of public interest may be added. It is a matter of defining their future, while considering the specific needs of citizens in terms of culture, sports, recreation, and mobility.
What will be the decision-making process?
Following the various brainstorming sessions, public meetings and citizen consultations, the municipal team will present the projects that stand out during these activities and that best meet the needs of the population. A survey will then be sent to the entire population to submit the selected projects and to gather the various opinions. These projects will then undergo the necessary preliminary studies (architectural plans, evaluations, etc.) prior to calls for tenders, in accordance with municipal regulations.
When you talk about the John-Sleeth Building, are you making sure that you will find a place to house the organizations currently in place: the Jardin d'enfants de Sutton, the Maison des Jeunes, the Bibliothèque Sutton Library, and the Arts Sutton Gallery?
All discussions and options being considered include plans to relocate the various organizations that may be affected by changes. These same organizations will be consulted and accompanied in the process of finding solutions.
For several years, we have been hearing about projects on the Filtex and the John-Sleeth Building, but no concrete action has yet been taken: what is different now?
The objective of this process is to finally make a clear decision regarding the various municipal sites awaiting revitalization, in order to maximize the existing infrastructures and respond to the specific needs of citizens. The goal is to put in place infrastructures that:
- Promote social interaction and a sense of place,
- Develop a pedestrian experience that is appropriate for residents and visitors,
- consolidate the village core as a community focal point and a vibrant, friendly, and attractive environment
- Preserve Sutton’s village character, its heritage, and cultural characteristics, while ensuring the protection of its environment.
In the analysis of the village core, do you consider road safety for pedestrians and cyclists?
Mobility is at the heart of our thinking. All the steps have been taken with the provincial authorities. The Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) is aware of the issues we have on Principale Street and solutions have been proposed. At the same time, we are trying to find alternative routes, new paths for pedestrians and cyclists.
Are you aware that there is a lack of parking?
The lack of parking in the village, especially on weekends, is being addressed. The Town is well aware of the issues related to a lack of parking in the Village and the potential impact on merchants. All current discussions must be used to propose solutions to this problem.
1 April 2022
1 June 2022
Public presentation meeting in French
26 October 2022
7 to 9 p.m. at the Sutton Museum of Communications and History
Public presentation meeting in English
27 October 2022
7 to 9 p.m. at the Sutton Museum of Communications and History
13 November 2022
Opening Thursday, October 20 from 4 to 6 p.m. Exhibition opens Saturday and Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m., from October 22 to November 13, 2022 at the Sutton Museum of Communications and History
Summary of consultation results
7 December 2022
Sending out the survey on different options
7 December 2022
Deadline for completing the survey
31 December 2022
2 March 2023
Studies and Council propositions
1 December 2023
(date to be confirmed)
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This page was last modified : 30 August 2023