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Montreal will build 200K more housing units, several tramways by 2050: Plante

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Montrealers should expect to see 200,000 more housing units and several tramways on the island by 2050, according to a new vision for the city unveiled by Mayor Valérie Plante.

The mayor presented the ambitious plan Tuesday morning for how the city would like 26 years from now. It is expected to include, "significant supply of off-market housing, varied and safe sustainable mobility options, local services throughout the territory and a strong emphasis on greening and resilient development," the mayor's office said in a news release.

The plan includes thousands of new housing units, including 20 per cent of off-market housing to protect it from real estate speculation.

But don't expect condo towers to pop up everywhere.

"Are we going to lose Mount Royal because we're going to build all these towers that please the developers? No, of course we have to find out what is in the best interest of everybody," said Heritage Montreal's Dinu Bumbaru.

Bumbaru says this plan was long overdue and despite some ambitious numbers being thrown around, he will look to see how Montreal chooses to densify its neighbourhoods.

"Don't forget, people live in a place they enjoy. They just don't live in a chart of numbers, you know, an Excel chart is not where people live. So, there has to be a balance between those number goals and qualities you want to maintain or you introduce," he said.

More than 180 km of tramways

Transportation is another key area of development, with plans for 360 kilometres of public transit and for nearly 70 per cent of trips made using public transit or "active transportation."

More than 180 kilometres of tramways would cross one end of the island to the other, according to "Le Plan Montréal 2050," which also calls for extensions to the blue and orange Metro lines.

A map of the proposed revamped public transit network under the Plan Montreal 2050. (Source: City of Montreal)

Plante said she's prioritizing tramways rather than major Metro development because "we do not have the means to develop major public transport projects," in a jab to the Legault government.

"If governments tell us they want to fund the Metro everywhere, we're open!" the mayor said.

"What is really interesting with the tramway is it's comfortable. It's a great alternative, but it's also something that is easy to integrate into some already existing area," said Sophie Mauzerolle, a member of the Plante administration's executive committee.

It's music to the ears of public transit advocates.

"It's good news because we have a problem. We don't have any intermediate mode between the bus and the Metro," said François Pepin, an administrator with Trajectoir Quebec.

Plante also wants nearly half of all employment centres to be served by public and active transportation, and to decarbonize Montreal buildings by 2040.

The mayor says Montreal has not had a plan like this since 2004. There is no official price tag for all of these projects but it could cost in the tens of billions of dollars.

"Life is changing. It's always more complex, and it is our duty as a municipality to take care of every corner of the city," Plante said.

Residents will get a chance to provide their feedback on the plan at public consultations in the coming days. The city is aiming to approve the plan next year. 

With files from Noovo Info

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