This morning, the Leader of the Official Opposition at Montreal City Hall, Aref Salem, Homelessness Spokesperson, Benoit Langevin, and Economic Development Spokesperson, Julien Hénault-Ratelle, presented their plan for the Village. From social cohabitation to cleanliness and economic development, the solutions presented by Ensemble Montréal tackle numerous issues head-on in order to give this neighborhood the pride it deserves.
“The Village has been a bright, colourful and vibrant place for years. Today, this iconic Montreal neighbourhood is facing many challenges and is going through a difficult period. However, with determination and leadership, we can restore its pride. This is the objective of the recovery plan proposed by Ensemble Montréal,” declared Mr. Salem.
Responding to the Humanitarian Crisis and Homelessness
The two meetings between Ensemble Montréal the local merchants and residents made it clear: ensuring social cohabitation was at the heart of locals’ concerns. It is essential to maintain resources dedicated to vulnerable people, so it is imperative they be able to meet their basic needs at all hours of the day and night. Ensemble Montréal is therefore calling on the authorities to find a location for a 24/7 continuous resource for vulnerable people, after they consult with the SDC of the Village and local organizations. In the same vein, the return and maintenance of the E=MC2 clinic is essential in order to facilitate access to health services.
Several businesses also testified to the difficulty of obtaining help in the event of a person experiencing a psychosocial emergency. To speed up response times, the party proposes that the mixed intervention teams be given a nearby locale, which would allow for an improved and continued presence, and that businesses be provided with a direct telephone line to them.
“To quote the Ombudsman de Montréal: it is time to stop looking away. This is true in Milton-Parc, but it is just as true in the Village. We can no longer leave vulnerable people behind. It is no longer viable, neither for them nor for anyone,” insisted Benoît Langevin.
An Inviting Business Card for the Village
To restore the economic vitality of the Village, it is essential to fill the many vacant premises in the sector, which accounted for 26.5% of its commercial spaces last November. Incentives to encourage the arrival of new businesses, the creation of a public register of vacant premises and the loosening of local zoning by-laws, so as to allow for offices on the ground floors of buildings along Saint-Catherine, are among the measures proposed by the party.
The municipal administration must also remedy the flagrant issues of cleanliness by improving waste collection services and by implementing cleanliness brigades. Also, given that approximately 16% of cigarette butts collected in the borough of Ville-Marie originated from the Village, the municipal administration should install more ashtrays as well. To ensure that the owners of vacant commercial premises take part in the revitalization effort, a requirement to decorate their window displays should be included in their vacancy certificates. So too should they be encouraged to clean and maintain the facades of their buildings.
Lastly, Ensemble Montréal agrees with the SDC du Village: it is crucial to set up a permanent forum to allow for discussion between the various levels of government to ensure that they all play their role. Consequently, the party calls for the creation of an intergovernmental standing committee on priority issues that threaten the survival of the sector.
“Actions must be taken to encourage businesses to establish themselves in the Village, but also to convince property owners to be active in renting their commercial premises. This involves a series of incentives, but also, first and foremost, it requires an inviting business card for our Village,” added Julien Hénault-Ratelle.
To view Ensemble Montréal’s complete plan for the Village (in French) :