The city of Montreal plans to spend a whopping $64 billion over the next two decades as mayor Gerald Tremblay announced his vision for Montreal in 2025.
Last week, in a 26-page vision statement entitled Imagining and Building Montreal 2025, Mayor Tremblay publicly outlined his dream of Montreal in 20 years. The mayor admitted that this dream will take time and hard work, but assured Montrealers that plans are already underway.
Conversely, opposition leader Pierre Bourque called Montreal 2025 a “pipe dream” and a “fictional” vision of the city’s future. Bourque warned that Mayor Tremblay shouldn’t be “thinking about a far off future when Montreal has real difficulties today.”
The 2025 vision is a follow-up to the Montreal 2002 summit. New plans for the city include more recreational facilities, train links to the city, metro stations, green space, bike paths, cultural events, citizen involvement and better business opportunities. The vision also promises the creation of 130,000 new housing units, 40,000 of which will be set aside for subsidized affordable housing.
Concordia students had mixed reactions to the proposed Montreal of the future.
Long time Montreal resident Johan Millston, a sophomore studying political science at Concordia, believes the 2025 vision is simply a grandiose pre-election promise that has no substance.
“Students today are not buying into government election promises or long-term plans. It is good to look to the future but things change too fast and we may be living in a completely different world 20 years from now.”
After graduation, Millston has no plans to remain in Montreal.
“The city is very dirty and no temporary amount of clean-up crews can make it any cleaner. I have seen the city become infested with garbage in the last five years, not to mention more unemployed young people and homelessness.”
Gina Talbot disagrees saying she will miss Montreal after she moves to Manitoba in January.
“We have to look at the future,” said the Concordia student, “Tremblay has been able to see beyond the short-term with his vision. Thinking big is good sometimes.”
Talbot, who is an avid cyclist and environmental activist, is optimistic that the 2025 plans will help Montreal become more ecologically aware.
“I see more focus on environmentally friendly buildings and retrofits for those old buildings. This is where many North American cities are heading and Montreal seems to be heading in [the right] direction.”
Plans to add an additional 100 kilometers of new bicycle trails and link existing trails to the city centre are currently underway. Most Montreal parks will also be getting a face-lift and several existing eco-territories will be restructured.
“There is just so much to do in Montreal. I already think it is a great city for environmentalists,” Talbot concluded.
The price tag of $64 billion includes 130 projects with almost $32 billion in private investment, $16.9 billion from Quebec and Ottawa, and $15.3 billion in city spending. At Concordia, The John Molson School of Business will receive a $60 million investment and new facilities by 2007.
A day after the announcement, the mayor began parading his party’s re-election platform, complete with its “Go Montreal” slogan. Other issues on Mayor Tremblay’s to-do list include fixing potholes, an increase in library books and a computerized library system, more trees, clean-up crews and sports facilities, and improvements to the city’s transportation system. Mayor Tremblay hopes that these efforts will elevate the city’s status to make a possible bid for the 2016 summer Olympics.
Students can have their say on an interactive website that provides information about major development projects, at www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/montreal2025.