Coronavirus: Montreal unveils $60-million economic relaunch roadmap

The downtown skyline is seen Wednesday, February 18, 2015 in Montreal. The city of Montreal has unveiled a 10-step roadmap towards relaunching its economy, including $10 million for the downtown core. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Montreal’s economic growth was leading the pack among Canada’s major cities before COVID-19 hit businesses hard and stalled that growth.

But Montreal officials say they have a $60-million plan to help relaunch the economy.

Mayor Valérie Plante and Luc Rabouin, the city’s executive committee member responsible for economic development, unveiled their 10-step roadmap on Thursday.

“Our goal is really to turn the crisis into an opportunity, to envision what Montreal will look like in 10 years,” Plante said.

The plan focuses on helping local businesses with financial investments and moving towards a greener economy –$8 million is set aside in order to help businesses go green and find models to promote a circular economy.

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It’s also putting money into affordable housing and transit projects.

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The biggest investments will go towards helping commercial development, with a total of $12.2 million. For example, helping businesses go digital and help them acquire property.

The Association des sociétés de développement commercial de Montréal (ASDCM) welcomes the news.

The association says it fears the city is on track to seeing a growing number of empty storefronts in January as Christmas sales are on the line due to an increase of COVID-19 cases and a tightening of restrictions in stores.

Click to play video: 'Plante unveils 2021 budget to bolster Montreal’s economy'
Plante unveils 2021 budget to bolster Montreal’s economy

“These measures come just in time,” said Billy Walsh, president of the ASDCM. “They will help preserve the vitality of our commercial arteries, of our downtown, all while providing financial support to our sociétés de développement commercial so they are ready to fully and efficiently contribute to Montreal’s economic relaunch and the survival of our living environments.”

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Another priority is to revive the downtown core in order to attract shoppers and investors.

READ MORE: Montreal unveils property tax freeze for 2021 amid coronavirus crisis

A total of $10 million will be spent in the city’s downtown, of which $6.2 million will go towards promoting businesses, organizing activities and embellishing the area.

There are also investments to help the cultural industry totaling $5.6 million.

Part of that money will go towards commissioning cultural and artistic productions, another part, $1.4 million will be given in subsidies to independent venues in order to help them go digital and invest in soundproofing.

The plan is part of the Montreal budget, which was unveiled last month.

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