Two Visions for Housing in Montreal

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The subject of rental housing has taken on unprecedented importance in recent months, and even more so since the launch of the municipal election race in several cities in Quebec, but particularly in the city of Montreal.

Two Visions for Housing in Montreal

The party represented by Denis Coderre, Ensemble Montréal, recently announced proposals to build housing. By building "50,000 housing units within four years by focusing on development, financing and unblocking the City's processes surrounding the creation of new units" Ensemble Montréal is proposing a "drastic remedy" in order to increase the supply of housing and consequently put downward pressure on market prices. This is intended to slow down the massive exodus of Montrealers to the suburbs which has reached record figures in recent years.

Denis Coderre's party wants to revitalize areas of the city, as mentioned in the Downtown Plan, by encouraging the conversion of vacant office towers into residential buildings. This project could lead to the creation of 3000 units. Also, encouraging the construction of new units on unused land by asking private real estate players to participate, as in Cité-du-Havre, where 10,000 to 20,000 housing units are planned, and the Îlot Voyageur, where a mixed-use project would offer student and social housing. A $25 million investment fund will be created, and private, philanthropic, and other levels of government will be invited to contribute. Social and community housing will be included at 15% of units only in housing projects of 25 units or more.

Moreover, Valérie Plante's party is betting on quasi-punitive actions towards Montreal's landlords, by projecting the idea of a certification program and a lease registry. In addition, the mayor goes so far as to promise the construction of 60,000 affordable housing units. The party is counting on the community to become more involved in housing with a budget of $800 million over 40 years that would be dedicated to the acquisition of land and the construction and maintenance of the 60,000 units promised over the next 10 years.

There are therefore two divergent visions on how the issue of rental housing in Montreal is being addressed. On the one hand, Ensemble Montréal wishes to eliminate a series of irritants that are a hindrance to residential development by encouraging private investment, whereas Projet Montréal has more recourse to actions that will be financed with public funds.

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