COVID-19: a plan to revive the city centre

COVID-19: un plan pour faire revivre le centre-ville

MONTREAL – The City of Montreal has unveiled a plan on Tuesday, aiming to revive its downtown, deserted since the beginning of the pandemic, much to the dismay of shopkeepers and restaurateurs.

The quadrilateral formed by the rue Atwater and Papineau avenue, and extending from the river St-Laurent up to Sherbrooke street with the public spaces as of July 31, announced the mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plant. The plan of$ 400,000 announced on Tuesday, also provides discounts on parking.

Benefits and entertainment surprises will be available from the 23 July to promote the goodwill and the interest of consumers in this area, normally greatly frequented by the tourists during the summer, without forgetting the employees of the office towers.

According to a survey of the Chamber of commerce of metropolitan Montreal (BTMM), carried out among business people, 76% of traders, employers and companies are very concerned about the situation in the city centre.

“Montreal suffers, the city centre suffers”, stated the president of the BTMM, Michel Leblanc.

According to Ms Plant, the town centre is empty because the office workers are all telecommuting from home. “We can’t wait to see the office towers fill up, to 25%, of course, pointed out that that would like to see companies reach the rate of occupation allowed by the government since 18 July.

For the moment, only about 5% of the workers are back in the city centre, according to Mr Leblanc.

Cultural activities and surprises

On the website it will be possible to consult a map which includes the terraces, public spaces and rest areas. No date or description of the events would however not be unveiled to avoid the crowds.

The president of the board of directors of the Partnership of the Quartier des spectacles, Monique Simard, believes that it is the most effective way to stimulate the interest of Montrealers.

“It’s like a laboratory. We experiment, we try things. I’d like to tell you that at such street corner, at that particular time, it is going to have such a thing, but I can’t. But I can tell you that if you go into such a quadrilateral, at the end of the week, I assure you that you will discover and be surprised”, she argued.

About 150 artists from all areas will take part to 200 benefits surprises in collaboration with 50 companies, arts and cultural organizations in visual art, dance, film, digital arts, street arts, music, and urban design.

These benefits and the urban development expected, are possible thanks to a fund of$ 400,000 to be released by the City of Montreal. Ms. Plant compare this investment to other similar projects, including on the streets of Wellington and Mont-Royal.

“When we injected funds, but also that we put energy, for example on other commercial streets […], people come because there is an experience. […] Then, the amounts of which are injected, for us, it is an investment in the short, medium and long term,” she argued.

In addition, 1000 parking spaces at reduced prices will be available in collaboration with the Palais des congrès de Montréal and the Complexe Desjardins.

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