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Montréal can’t afford a billion-dollar park

Author: Renaud Brossard 2021/04/16

MONTRÉAL, QC – The Canadian Taxpayers Federation criticized the Plante-Dorais administration for launching a billion-dollar park project weeks after crying poor.

“One the one hand, Montréal says it’s in a financial hole, on the other, it’s presenting a billion-dollar park project,” said CTF Quebec Director Renaud Brossard. “Montréal is not in a financial situation where it can afford pharaonic projects.”

According to the City of Montréal, there will be a $300 million annual shortfall in its budget until 2024.

The City of Montréal estimates its project to refurbish Jean-Drapeau park will cost taxpayers a billion dollars. Municipal taxpayers would cover one-third of the bill.

According to estimates from the Montreal Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, a 30 per cent drop in valuation for downtown buildings would lead to a $130 million budgetary shortfall.

According to the most recent data compiled by the Institut du développement urbain, the unoccupancy rate of downtown office buildings has kept climbing in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 12.4 per cent.

“Montréal is still fighting to get people to come back downtown to avoid losing significant tax revenue,” said Brossard. “It’s irresponsible for City Hall to go ahead with such a massive project while it still doesn’t know what its finances will look like for the next few years.”