Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir An oil refinery in the east of Montreal, in 2021
The City of Montreal is reviewing its strategy to subsidize the decontamination of industrial land in the east of the city in the hope of encouraging more private owners to seize this opportunity.
Currently, the City reimburses 90% of the land decontamination costs of private companies using its subsidies. These are given to them at the end of the work, if they are deemed to be compliant by the City.
“The owners have to borrow that money and assume the risk, because we pay it back at the end if the project has been done in a compliant manner. So there is still a significant portion of risk for the owner”, indicated to Devoir on Friday the head of economic and commercial development on the executive committee, Luc Rabouin, on the sidelines of a strategic forum on real estate organized by the East Montreal Chamber of Commerce.
Result: few companies use this subsidy program, in which Quebec invested $100 million in 2019. Currently, there are 35 million square feet (3.25 million square meters) of land that has been contaminated in particular by the petrochemical industry. The decontamination of these lands is therefore at the heart of the efforts dedicated to the revitalization of the east end of Montreal.
In order to correct the situation, the City now plans to review its strategy for financing the decontamination of land upstream. Thus, eligible companies that have presented a project “rigorously” will be able to receive a grant equivalent to 50% of the cost of decontaminating their land even before the work in question has begun.
“It's okay allow the owner to contract with these suppliers and pay them to start the project. Eventually, we will reimburse the other 50% at the end,” says Mr. Rabouin. The City will therefore assume the entire decontamination bill for private land that will apply for a subsidy.
“We are going as far as we can,” said Friday the head of east Montreal on the executive committee, Caroline Bourgeois, who believes that the City is “going to the end of its resources” to try to convince private owners. to decontaminate their land.
These companies now need to raise their hands, concluded Mr. Rabouin.
Real estate development
This announcement is part of a forum underway since 8:00 a.m. Friday morning at the Métropolitain d'Anjou golf club, which focuses on the development possibilities of eastern Montreal. On this occasion, the chairman of the board of directors of the Société de transport de Montréal, Éric Alan Caldwell, spoke about the extension of the blue line of the Montréal metro. Its five new metro stations, scheduled to open in 2029, could lead to the construction of 17,500 housing units around them.
The housing crisis is of concern to residents of East Montreal
“This is a great opportunity to develop affordable housing, to recreate complete, lively, pleasant neighborhoods to live in”, says Luc Rabouin.
There are, however, many challenges for the east end of Montreal, recalled Ron Rayside, who is an architect at Rayside Labossière, on Friday, presenting to the many participants in this forum various maps showing in particular the lack of green spaces and the concentration of heat islands in the east end of Montreal.