Valérie Plante has big plans for downtown Montreal if she's reelected mayor and has outlined her party's ideas for the city's economic and social recovery after the pandemic.
From free parking to planting hundreds of thousands of trees, here's what her vision for the future of downtown Montreal looks like.
Her plan, self-described as "ambitious," aims to boost what she already says has been the "best economic recovery" in Canada post-pandemic.
But while the economic aspect of downtown is looking positive, "there is still work to be done to enhance our downtown area and make it more attractive to workers, businesses, tourists, and Montrealers from all over the island," according to her party.
If reelected mayor, Plante promises to:
"support the Palais des Congrès expansion project, and consequently the covering of a part of the Ville-Marie highway;"
"offer free parking downtown on evenings and weekends in December to support our merchants during the holiday season;"
"[accelerate] construction sites and [limit] potential nuisances;"
"support the redevelopment of large offices into adequate spaces to accommodate [small and medium enterprises] and start-ups;"
make "a $1 billion investment by 2030 to develop beautiful, large public plazas in downtown, redevelop key commercial arteries and create vibrant living environments;"
"green" downtown by planting 500,000 trees in four years;
and "facilitate the transformation of vacant office space into housing."
The Montreal municipal election is on November 6 and 7.*
If either Valérie Plante or Denis Coderre get elected mayor in November, Montreal would be "more dangerous," according to mayoral candidate and Mouvement Montréal leader Balarama Holness.
"Montreal will be more dangerous under a Plante or Coderre administration because they both avoid accountability and fail to address the root cause of city violence: poverty, social exclusion, and marginalization," Holness said in a statement shared with MTL Blog.
@mouvement_MTL and @RPMTL2021 have a common vision to provide Montrealers with better services, remedy the housing… https://t.co/yXXZIqzTwQ
Holness called out Mayor Valérie Plante and former Mayor Denis Coderre for, in his words, "blindly investing in the SPVM."
"We have seen the budget skyrocket from $400 million to $800 million per year in the past few decades," he said, calling for a record of "every dollar spent by the SPVM" to be made public.
Under a Holness mandate, SPVM expenditures would be greatly reduced and much of the police budget would be frozen or eliminated altogether, "including the $57 million dollar gun range that was earmarked for 2020-2022," the statement from the party reads.
Rather than funding the police, Holness says his administration would invest $1 billion into building new sports and recreation facilities in Montreal in order to "improve urban health, limit high school dropouts, and build stronger and safer communities."
Specifically, Coderre and his party, Ensemble Montréal, say their administration would study the possibility of turning the surface above a stretch of sunken highway between chemins Queen Mary and Côte-Sainte-Catherine into a "new green urban park" with "outdoor sports facilities, family facilities and a relaxation area with a fountain."
🏗️ Le recouvrement de Ville-Marie mettra la table pour l’agrandissement du Palais des Congrès, qui permettra à Mont… https://t.co/E5o0nS5jba
"It's been 50 years since we've been talking about covering the Décarie Expressway and no one has yet taken the time to commission a detailed and ingenious feasibility study with a budget and a timetable for the project to become a reality," Ensemble Montréal candidate for CDN-NDG borough mayor, Lionel Perez, said in a statement.
The party says it would reduce the roads on either side of the highway to two lanes each.
Coderre also has a plan to cover part of the Ville-Marie Expressway downtown through the expansion of the Palais des congrès and the creation of a public square between rue Sanguinet and boulevard Saint-Laurent.
Ensemble Montréal says covering the Décarie would cost $700 million and covering the Ville-Marie Expressway would cost $400 million.