‘Downtown areas are important,’ says delegated CAQ Economy Minister Lucie Lecours
With municipalities all over Quebec starting to enter a true economic recovery following several false starts during the pandemic in the past two years, the CAQ government’s delegated Minister for the Economy Lucie Lecours was at Laval city hall last week to announce that $3 million of an overall $25 million has been set aside by Quebec for the recovery of businesses in Laval’s downtown core.
Lecours, who was accompanied by CAQ MNA for Saint-Rose Christopher Skeete and Laval executive-committee member Christine Poirier, confirmed that the provincial government has reviewed and accepted an economic recovery plan submitted by the City of Laval.
According to a statement issued by Lecours’ ministry last week, the City of Laval’s plan includes six initiatives which are expected to help boost business prospects and revenues in the downtown sector.
The plan also includes special subsidies, a major awareness-raising event, and a digital transformation element whose purpose will be to encourage downtown enterprises to focus on doing more business on the web.
“The economic recovery is accelerating in Quebec,” said Lecours.
“Our government continues to offer the right financial tools to municipalities for restore their confidence, while helping them rediscover their momentum from before the pandemic. Downtown areas are important economic engines, and must be able to resume their economic activities while getting back up to full-speed as quickly as possible.”
Laval’s downtown sector provides employment for up to 40,000 people
Challenges to meet
“The city is very happy to know it can count on this financial assistance from the government of Quebec for the recovery of its city centre,” said Laval councillor for Duvernay–Pont-Viau Christine Poirier, who is the executive-committee member responsible for economic development dossiers. “Our economy is facing great challenges, and we need the right tools to meet them.”
Noting that Laval’s downtown sector provides employment for up to 40,000 people, she said the pandemic caused the loss of 26,000 jobs, although the city reacted quickly with a range of support programs for businesses to minimize the damage. She said Laval was the region in Quebec that was hardest hit job-wise during the pandemic, with unemployment reaching 12 per cent at one point.
“Entrepreneurialism is one of the pillars for regional development, as well as an important indicator of the economic and social well-being of populations,” said Skeete. “The recovery in downtown areas will breathe new life into the businesses and restaurant owners who were weakened by the slowdown or stop of their activities. This help will benefit not only the City of Laval, but also all of Quebec.”
“We want to get the word out about Laval’s city centre,” said Lidia Divry, director-general of the economic development corporation Laval économique, adding that the agency wants to make Laval’s downtown area a kind of destination that stands out on maps. She said another goal is to begin holding important events in the city core in order to attract more pedestrian traffic.