Montréal, December 10, 2020 ‒ The Strategic Forum on the downtown area, held as part of the Relaunch MTL movement, powered by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and its partners, took place yesterday at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Chantal Rouleau, Minister for Transport, Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region, and Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal and President of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, took part in the event. During the Forum, close to 300 participants had a chance to interact with more than 15 industry representatives and public decision makers about priority measures to quickly relaunch the heart of the city.
During the event, strategic partners raised major challenges exacerbated by the pandemic and confirmed concerns about the vitality of the sector. They fear that the pandemic is forcing the closure or relocation of many businesses, stores, and restaurants and that without substantial government intervention, the role of downtown as an economic driver of Quebec and Greater Montréal is under threat.
Asked to prioritize challenges and recommendations from the Action Plan to Strengthen the Downtown Area, participants expressed their genuine concern for the 7,000 businesses in the area, with only 5% to 10% employees downtown currently working from their offices. In response to this concern, participants prioritize raising the profile of working downtown, to consolidate its role as an economic driver. In the short term, players from the sector want the advantages of going to work to be promoted and the recognition of employers who want workers to return to downtown, while respecting public health guidelines.
Longer term, participants came out in favour of several efforts that would diversify the economic profile of downtown by attracting more businesses in emerging sectors and fostering synergy among these businesses. Representatives of the real estate, creative, and retail sectors, among others, also argued to shine a spotlight on the distinct advantages of downtown Montréal, making it attractive for residents, workers, students, and tourists. To do this, we need to develop a strong, unifying, and distinctive brand image and promote it on priority international markets.
“Many initiatives occurred downtown in recent years that demonstrated its ability to be a meeting place not only for sectors that traditionally have had a presence there, but also for emerging and leading-edge sectors,” said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. “These new vocations are part of long-term solutions to strengthen the heart of the city, combined with major efforts to structure Montréal’s brand image. These efforts will be necessary so that Montréal can stand out even more than before the crisis with tourists and international talent, and as a key site for strategic investment. It’s necessary, and I am pleased that participants identified this as one of the priorities today.”
“Real estate developers will be essential partners for the relaunch of downtown,” said Jean-Marc Fournier, president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute of Quebec. “Their structuring projects will help accelerate investment by attracting new residents with appealing living environments. Obviously, I am referring to residential buildings, but also to social housing, schools, office buildings, seniors’ residences, and parks. These projects will have a positive economic impact on downtown, as well as on the Montréal area. Many workers, equipment manufacturers, and suppliers will contribute to these major sites.”
“The pandemic has created its share of challenges, but also presents many opportunities, and this is particularly true for downtown,” said Émile Roux, general manager of the Downtown Business Development Corporation. “The relaunch of the heart of the city depends on the concerted efforts of all players in socioeconomic development, such as merchants, office building owners, and real estate developers. Downtown Montréal is fortunate to have this initiative from the CCMM, because it rallies these players around shared objectives.”
The enhanced action plan, following a collaborative session held as part of the Forum, will soon be available on the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal website. While awaiting the updated version, you can find the action plan here.
About the Strategic Forum on the Downtown Area
The Strategic Forum on the Downtown Area, which is part of the Relaunch MTL movement, is jointly developed by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, the Urban Development Institute of Quebec, and the Downtown Business Development Corporation, in cooperation with Brivia.
About the Relaunch MTL movement
The Relaunch MTL movement is powered by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, the Government of Canada, the Government of Québec, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal and the Ville de Montréal, in association with Investissement Québec and the Palais des congrès de Montréal, and in cooperation with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Conseil emploi métropole, CN, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and KPMG. The movement is also created with the support of Air Canada, CGI, Desjardins, Hydro-Québec, La Presse, Montreal Gazette, RBC Royal Bank and Rio Tinto, and in partnership with Aéro Montréal, AluQuébec, the Association de la construction du Québec, the Quebec Film and Television Council, CargoM – Logistic and Transportation Metropolitan Cluster of Montréal, the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail, Culture Montréal, Écotech Québec, Femmessor, Finance Montréal, the Fonds de recherche du Québec, the Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec, the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal, mmode – the Metropolitan Fashion Cluster, Montréal International, Montreal InVivo, Numana, Propulsion Québec and Tourisme Montréal. More details on the movement at www.relaunchMTL.ca.
About the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
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.
To continue the discussion: #RelançonsMTL
Source: Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Information: Caroline Des Rosiers, 514 880-2881, firstname.lastname@example.org
Related link: http://www.relançonsMTL.ca