Montréal, June 10, 2020 – The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal reiterates the strategic importance of seven infrastructure projects that absolutely must be prioritized in order to successfully relaunch the economy in Montréal and Quebec.
“The debates around Bill 61 are necessary to ensure we do everything we can to recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic as quickly as possible. We support the governments’ plan to expedite the start of construction work on many infrastructure projects. In this time of economic uncertainty, public investments must make up for the temporary decrease in private investments. We must do it quickly, and we must do it well,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.
“The best way to use infrastructure projects to help restart the economy is to launch them quickly to create jobs and generate economic activity, but also plan them strategically to ensure that they reinforce the system once the crisis is over. In Montréal, there are seven strategic projects that have long been called for and are ready to go. The Chamber asks all three levels of government to make the arrangements necessary to get these projects started and give them the green light,” added Michel Leblanc.
The Palais des congrès de Montréal, a clear priority
“Many times over the last few years, the Palais des congrès has lost out on hosting large conferences and trade fairs due to a lack of space, and other major cities across the continent have picked up the slack. These missed opportunities directly affect our leading industries, such as artificial intelligence, which end up being deprived of visibility and access to industry leaders. All of the preparations to expand the Palais have already been made. This is the perfect example of a project that needs to happen, is ready to go and will have a major effect on the economy as soon as it is finished. We need to act now to reclaim our competitive position in the North American business tourism market,” continued Mr. Leblanc.
Increase the availability of social and affordable housing
“Montréal’s economy has been growing rapidly, which has exacerbated the strain on the housing market for several years now. All of the analyses conclude that finding solutions for investing more in social and affordable housing is a matter of urgency. The Ville de Montréal has a well-documented list of projects that are ready to go. This is another perfect example of priority projects that must begin without delay. In order to act quickly and on a vast scale, the governments of Quebec and Canada must finally come to an agreement regarding the National Housing Strategy. We estimate that the agreement would provide Quebec with an additional $1.7 billion over ten years. It’s time to come to an agreement,” stated Michel Leblanc.
Increase port and airport capacity
“Over the last few years, the Port of Montreal has experienced significant growth. The COVID-19 crisis has reminded us that our supply chain is absolutely essential in terms of ensuring access to basic necessities. With support from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, the Port is ready to invest in the construction of its new terminal in Contrecœur. We must make sure everything is in place so that this strategic investment can move forward as soon as the results of the federal environmental assessment come back. This investment is one of the projects that will have the most significant impact on Quebec’s economy,” mentioned Mr. Leblanc.
“We encourage the federal government to consider the long-term perspective when it comes to developing Montréal-Trudeau airport, which was experiencing rapid growth when the pandemic hit. As a hub of international travel, our airport will quickly become essential again once the crisis is over. The airport is ready to invest to prepare for the increase in volume, but its liquidity is currently limited due to the interruption of international flights, so we must make sure it is able to do so in the coming months. We ask the federal government to ensure that the airport is able to move forward with its investment projects this year. We also ask that it financially support the project to extend the REM line from the airport to the VIA Rail station just 800 metres away. Investing in the airport will reinforce the economy in Montréal and all of Eastern Canada,” added Mr. Leblanc.
Support the development of Montréal East
“The development of the great swaths of industrial land lying fallow in Montréal East is a strategic priority for the city’s economic future. We welcomed the joint declaration made by the Ville de Montréal and the government of Quebec in 2018 about repurposing the area to create a major green technology hub. The first step in this process is decontaminating the land. We are confident that the governments starting work on specific tracts of land will encourage more private investment in the project. We would therefore like to reiterate the importance of announcing accelerated provincial and federal investments to contribute to a green economic recovery,” said Michel Leblanc.
Public transit, a priority for society
“Although public transit has been decimated during the pandemic, with ridership going down by 70 to 85% in Greater Montréal, it remains one of the most significant strategic investments for our economy. We applaud the governments’ determination to move up the construction of projects that are already well underway. Extending the metro’s blue line must top the list. The government must also immediately authorize the extension of the orange line between Côte-Vertu station and the REM. An immediate investment in public transit is without a doubt the most direct way to support a green economic recovery,” concluded Michel Leblanc.
Read more about the projects the Chamber has identified as priorities here.
About the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)
With a network of over 8,000 members, the CCMM is active on two fronts: being the voice of the Montréal business community and delivering specialized services to businesses and their representatives. With its finger on the pulse of current events, it acts on issues that are decisive for the prosperity of the city’s businesses. With the support of the Acclr experts, the CCMM’s goal is to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes, at home and around the world.
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Coordinator, Strategy and Public Affairs
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, Ext. 4015
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