Working together to develop Montreal’s East End
Montreal’s east end is a vibrant area that is rich in economic, social and community resources. This vast area consists of the boroughs of Anjou, Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montréal-Est, Montréal-Nord, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Rivière-des-Prairies, Saint-Léonard and Rosemont, and is home to almost one in four Montrealers. It also has a dynamic industrial and business sector and a diverse cultural and community life, which are sustained by its citizen engagement.
In 2011, about one hundred leaders from all sectors of the community in Montreal’s east end decided to work together to revitalize their region and enhance its appeal. My team and I were involved in this activity from the very start, and it led to the creation of the Comité de Développement de l’Est de Montréal (CDEM). The committee’s objective was to promote the economic, social, environmental and cultural development of the east end Montreal. Our working groups were committed to the development of our region. The objective was to develop the area through improved transportation and logistics, entrepreneurship, employment and knowledge, as well as community life.
Developing quality infrastructure
By developing the infrastructure in the east end of Montreal, we will ensure the socio-economic advancement within the metropolitan region. CDEM decided to make quality infrastructure and transportation the priority in order to attract key businesses that will revitalize the economy of the area.
The creation of good jobs is one of the main objectives of the economic development of this area. Therefore, it is vitally important to revitalize and develop potential areas of employability including contaminated land, industrial parks and commercial thoroughfares, and to promote investment in these areas.
It is also crucial that we work on developing transportation in Montreal’s east end. At present, despite the fact that 23.5% of Montreal’s population lives in the east endl, only 14.6% of Montreal’s jobs are located in the area. Thus, one resident in five travels downtown every day for work. It is therefore important to ensure that residents and workers have safe, accessible and quality public transit. This objective is being developed through a number of initiatives, such as cycling paths, the planned extension of the metro east blue line, electrification of transportation, shared taxis, and car-sharing services.
Boosting the vitality of Montreal’s east end through employment and training
Employment and training will also ensure the east end of Montreal’s ability to attract resources. Therefore, it is crucial that all stakeholders, whether they are from the economic, social or political sphere, work together to promote the creation and maintenance of training opportunities and good jobs in the area. It is also important to promote entrepreneurship, which is a key creator of wealth in the east end, especially through the establishment of new innovative businesses.
A number of initiatives will commence in the next few months to meet these objectives. Initiatives such as the creation of consortia by the different stakeholders in the area, the establishment of training programs for immigrant labour, the development of training programs in CEGEPs, or initiatives such as the OSEntreprendre Challenge, these projects supported by CDEM are initiatives that will ensure that Montreal’s east end is a key job market.
Promoting a healthy and vibrant community
In order for an area to be attractive, it is not enough to develop industry or employment. It is also vital to work on improving residents’ living conditions.
Many studies have shown that good quality of life starts with health. That is why it is essential to facilitate residents’ access to clinics and hospitals, and also to sports infrastructure such as cycling paths and parks, and to suitable and affordable housing as well as neighbourhood shops that offer local, nutritious food.
Urban agriculture, the east beach, the development of bicycle paths and the creation of a recreational tourism route showcasing the cultural heritage of east end Montreal are also initiatives that could significantly improve the quality of life of the residents in the east end of Montreal.
As members of the CDEM, we are proud to participate in the revitalization of east end Montreal, and to promote the development of the region that is environmentally responsible and has social licence.