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100 million to clean up land in eastern Montreal

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Nov20,2023

100 million to clean lands in Eastern Montreal

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Soil decontamination operations have been underway since 2020 on former industrial lands in eastern Montreal.

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The government of Quebec is injecting $100 million into the creation of the Société de mise envaluation de terrains en l'Est de Montréal (SMTEM) on the sidelines of the Sommet de l’Est, which takes place Monday at the Olympic Stadium.

This new entity, which will be financed through Investissement Québec, will have the mandate to acquire industrial land and related assets in eastern Montreal, in order to clean them up and revalorize them to stimulate the development of this part of the island which has stagnated for decades.

SMTEM, which will act in partnership with Fondaction Asset Management, will work directly on the rehabilitation of contaminated land with high economic potential, explains the office of the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, in a press release.

It will in fact be a limited partnership whose main and only limited partner for the moment will be Investissement Québec, while Fondaction will be responsible for managing SMTEM as general partner, we can read in the document.

The $100 million announced today will be paid in the form of shares in this new limited partnership.

The money invested by the government will be used to purchase land as well as to carry out the studies and decontamination work required in collaboration with the City of Montreal and the City of Montreal-East.

A quote from the Office of the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy

In the City of Montreal, we welcome the creation of the SMTEM to the extent that the powers of municipal authorities are limited in the face of companies that have polluted these lands.

The intention, it is there, it is excellent, rejoices Caroline Bourgeois, mayor of the district of Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles […] There are limits to this what a city can do. What the City can pay for the decontamination, for example, of land owned by polluters who themselves polluted this land.

This investment from Quebec brings to $275 million the sums invested by the Legault government for the decontamination of land in eastern Montreal.

An initial envelope of $75 million was paid for this purpose by the Legault government in 2018. Followed by an investment of an additional $100 million in 2019, in particular to decontaminate 4 million square feet of soil on 9 sites. municipal.

However, despite all these public funds invested, many promoters complain of endless delays both in Quebec and in the City of Montreal before permissions, permits and money are released.

This wait discourages investors, who leave the table or who give up before the projects have even broken ground.

According to a request for access to information made by the official opposition to the City of Montreal, only one million dollars of the 100 million obtained in 2019 would have been spent to date by the City as part of these subsidies.

The City of Montreal responds that it has committed to spending approximately $56 million even though the projects have not yet been built.

Becoming one of the main industrial areas of Quebec in the early 1900s, eastern Montreal is home to a refinery, petrochemical complexes and heavy industry, in addition to being bordered to the south by the terminals of the Port of Montreal over a good part of its length.

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Petrochemical facilities in eastern Montreal.

But the sector also includes large residential areas and green spaces that the public authorities have promised for years to develop by transforming former industrial sectors into habitable areas.

This challenge is not an easy task given the deep traces left by a century of intense industrial activity on this territory.

Lacking a rapid and modern public transportation system east of the Honoré-Beaugrand metro station, eastern Montreal is struggling to develop, even though approximately 10% of Quebec's population lives there.

The life expectancy of citizens who live in certain neighborhoods in eastern Montreal is up to nine years lower than that of citizens in the west of the island, according to data published in 2016 by the Integrated University Health and Social Services Center (CIUSSS) of Eastern Montreal.

It is with the intention of giving a boost to future and ongoing revitalization efforts that the federal minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency and Member of Parliament for Hochelaga, Soraya Martinez-Ferrada, launched the Eastern Summit which takes place all day at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

Several federal ministers, including Steven Guilbeault (Environment) and Pablo Rodriguez (Transport), as well as several of their colleagues from the Quebec government, including Pierre Ftizgibbon (Economy), France-Élaine Duranceau (Housing) and Chantal Rouleau (Social Solidarity), will take part in the event alongside the Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, and Anne St-Laurent, Mayor of the City of Montreal-East.

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The federal deputy for Hochelaga, Soraya Martinez-Ferrada, is one of the instigators of the Eastern Summit.

Nearly 700 people registered for the event, according to Soraya Martinez-Ferrada, who spoke this morning on ICI Première .

Today's day aims to coordinate between the different levels of government, the private sector, the public sector, citizens, organizations to say how we are implementing concrete actions to move forward, she said. .

Believing that we cannot resolve everything at once and that years will be necessary for the revitalization of the East, Ms. Martinez- Ferrada wants to hold such a meeting every year with stakeholders in the field, not only to coordinate their efforts, but to regularly take stock of the progress made. Progress that people must be able to see, insists the minister.

We know what to do, we know the diagnosis, now we have to make concrete actions, we must move forward. Move forward each year to see real change in the territory. Let people see it in a real way.

A quote from Soraya Martinez-Ferrada, Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency

East of Montreal… yes, there is industrial. The perception of the East is that it is a sector where there were refineries, it is gray, perhaps it is polluted, but it is also a sector where we can live well there. with a good quality of life and we must develop the East in this spirit, she declared.

Friday, the federal government marked the occasion by announcing an investment of $8 million in the sector to transform the wasteland between Ray- Mont Logistiques and the Viauville sector.

The City of Montreal announced on Sunday the transformation of nearly 700 hectares of wooded areas into a regional park in east of the island of Montreal.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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