Quartier Bonaventure: A project that must go ahead
Montréal, January 19, 2010 - The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal today presented its brief on the Quartier Bonaventure project to the Office de consultation publique de Montréal. The President and CEO of the Board of Trade, Michel Leblanc, recalled the importance of going forward with this structuring project for Montréal, while pointing to three concerns of the business community.
"Quartier Bonaventure is an ambitious project that is based on an extremely promising and far-reaching vision for the development of a strategic area of the city," said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. "What the Société du Havre is proposing will provide an exceptional approach to the city, bring downtown and the river closer together and reforge the urban grid of an entire neighbourhood using strict criteria of sustainable development. This project is even more promising because it will eliminate an outdated piece of infrastructure that needs to be upgraded and create property value that will generate revenue for the City of Montréal."
While it strongly supports the Quartier Bonaventure project, the Board of Trade raised some important concerns about and prerequisites for the project going ahead. "We have to remember that while Quartier Bonaventure is an inspiring project, economic conditions are very difficult," Michel Leblanc said. "We have to give priority to initiatives that will make the greatest contribution to Montréal's development. This major investment is justified only if it generates additional revenue for the City. In other words, this project will be a success only if private investors get involved and, at this stage, the Board of Trade is concerned about the absence of a major partner."
The Board of Trade also addressed the City of Montréal: "Given the precariousness of municipal finances, solid assumptions about costs and benefits are essential before giving the project the green light," Michel Leblanc said. "The Board of Trade asks the City of Montréal to perform the checks necessary to ensure that assumptions are solid. Furthermore, with all the development planned around the Quartier Bonaventure, thought needs to go into how the projects are connected. The entire area must undergo integrated planning, and the City of Montréal must play an active role in that planning."
The President and CEO of the Board of Trade recognizes that a proposed reserved lane on Dalhousie Street is generating natural opposition. "We defend the importance of favouring the fastest route to reduce operating costs for buses from the South Shore and travel time for workers who choose this sustainable means of transportation to come downtown."
"Quartier Bonaventure is a project that will move Montréal forward," Michel Leblanc said. "Obviously, there are still some concerns, which is normal at this stage, but the Société du Havre has the Board of Trade's trust that it will carry out a project Montrealers can be proud of."
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4015