Montreal mayoral candidates discuss how to boost tourism

Both Valérie Plante and Denis Coderre agree that the city center needs a lift, but they disagree on how to get there.

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To give tourism a chance, the city needs to spice up the city center, leading mayoral candidates said Thursday.


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However, neither Valérie Plante nor Denis Coderre agreed on how to do it.

The candidates debated the topic of tourism during an event organized by Tourisme Montréal at the Palais des Congrès. The discussion was moderated by UQAM professor of marketing Paul Arseneault.

Coderre said that, as mayor, he would see if he could use a tax break to revitalize Montreal’s restaurants and hotels. I would also consider reusing certain office buildings as many are vacant at this time.

“Unfortunately, there has been a lack of leadership on that front,” Coderre said of Plante’s handling of the downtown economy.

Later during the debate, Plante responded by saying that a mayor should be an event promoter, but that Coderre doesn’t have a good track record on that front.


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“It really worries me that M. Coderre will put the event promoter hat back on, because we all know what happened to Formula E. This is something that scares me,” Plante said, referring to the electric car race in 2018. which became a waste and probably contributed to his electoral defeat.

Plante said she is proud of what her administration has done so far, having reviewed the plan to renovate Ste-Catherine St., remake Phillips Square, and designed a new Oscar Peterson Square, which will be an open-air plaza at the end of McGill College. Bird.

For his part, Coderre said he was a great city ambassador when he was mayor. He said he raised the profile of Montreal during his tenure, which was marked by the celebration of the city’s 375th anniversary. He is also proud of some of the projects he launched while he was mayor, such as the rebuilding of Robert-Bourassa Blvd. and the lining of the Ville-Marie highway near City Hall.


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Plante said she was proud that her administration listened to the needs of the tourism industry, adding that it also listened to citizens when they complained last year about the number of construction projects in the city. This led her to cancel 40 percent of the projects planned in the city center.

He said his administration hopes to “take back the shores” with a promenade that will allow people to walk and bike between the Island of the Nuns and Old Montreal, passing under the Victoria Bridge.

Coderre said he represents experience and competence and would have a well thought out plan, while Plante said his goal is to make the city more livable for its citizens, he will work with all partners and listen to stakeholders.


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Coderre said he would like to explore other tools to help restaurant owners, such as allowing them to build heated decks so they can have more capacity during the colder months. For his part, Plante said he is already working on heated terraces and hopes to implement a pilot project this winter.

Both candidates said they also want to control Airbnb units.

Things got tough during the question period when Coderre accused Plante of mismanaging the city’s finances, pointing to the fact that the city’s net debt is now 120 percent of its income.

Plante replied.

“He is lying when he says that we are about to suffer a drop in our credit rating; Montreal is in very good financial shape, ”he said.

Coderre chided Plante: “To insult me, you have to understand how it works.”

In other campaign news, Plante presented his candidates Wednesday night, revealing a list of 61 women and 42 men. 47% of his party’s candidates belong to visible and ethnic minority communities.

On Thursday, Coderre unveiled his plan to improve city services. It includes increasing the budget for snow removal and improving the city’s 311 phone service.

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