Montreal's historic Chinatown will soon be granted heritage status by the province, Radio-Canada has learned.
Quebec's minister of culture and communications Nathalie Roy signed a notice of intent Thursday, stating the government's intention to grant heritage status to the core of the Chinatown sector.
Residents and business owners in Chinatown and members of Montreal's Chinese community have long called for the neighbourhood to be designated a heritage site, in order to guard against overdevelopment and to protect its historic character.
Roy is expected to make the announcement Monday morning, alongside Montreal mayor Valérie Plante, Heritage Montreal and members of a working group composed of business owners, citizens and local officials from the Chinatown.
Montreal's executive committee has also adopted a resolution revising its urbanism plan, in order to preserve Chinatown's historic characteristics and to revise the maximum allowable height and density of buildings.
Montreal's public consultation office, the OCPM, will be mandated to hold public consultations on the proposed changes.
Two iconic buildings to be protected
According to Radio-Canada, two individual buildings are also set to receive heritage status from the province.
They are the former S. Davis and Sons factory and the Wing's Factory, also known as the former British and Canadian School, at the corner of De La Gauchetière Street West and Côté Street.
A heritage designation would mean that the owners of these buildings would have to obtain authorization from the culture minister before doing any restoration work or before demolishing the buildings.
Until now, only two buildings in Chinatown have been classified as heritage buildings under provincial law: the church and presbytery of the Mission-Catholique-Chinoise-du-Saint-Esprit on Jeanne-Mance Street.
The Quebec cultural heritage council will review the ministry's proposal and hear from owners if they wish to oppose the heritage designation.
The council has 12 months to approve the proposal, but in the meantime, the buildings and the heart of Chinatown will be considered to have de facto heritage status.