Trains every three minutes, crossing the Champlain Bridge at 100 km/h at rush hour, getting to the airport from downtown in 20 minutes… the president and CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Michael Sabia, has no shortage of examples to underline the benefits of the Réseau électrique métropolitain project once completed.
Beyond numbers, it’s the CDPQ’s vision and innovative approach that make the REM an essential – and exciting – project for the business community. On February 22, Michael Sabia spoke before the Chamber of Commerce to present his vision of public transit and unveil a few new additions to the project before 560 members of the business community. Here are three that caught our attention.
1. 250,000 trees for a breath of fresh air at future construction sites
The CDPQ has committed to delivering the project on a tight schedule. This will mean construction will be carried out at a number of sites at the same time around the metropolitan area. Michael Sabia announced that 250,000 trees will be planted in Greater Montréal – for a total of 208 hectares – in an effort to counteract the greenhouse gas emissions from the REM construction sites. Covering more area than the Parc du Mont-Royal, the trees will be planted as part of Earth Day and will help achieve the objective of 375,000 trees planted on the island for the city’s 375th anniversary.
2. A place for art and culture in stations
To make the REM a vital project, the interior and exterior design of the stations needs to stand out architecturally. This has worked well for the Montréal and Moscow metros, where each station has its own unique signature, unlike those of London and New York. In line with the innovation of the REM, the Caisse will hold a competition to integrate art, the environment and culture to the network. Its main objective is to encourage the participation of Montréal architects, artists and creators by making the project a showcase for the city’s ingenuity.
3. More farmland
The CDPQ is committed to expanding the rural area on the South Shore during the REM’s construction and after it is put into service. The announcement is in response to criticisms of plans for a Brossard station on farmland. This is in keeping with the CDPQ’s collaborative approach, which has marked the effort from the beginning, as Mr. Sabia pointed out during his address.
To consult the Chamber’s brief on the project (only in French), click here.