Statistics Canada estimates that in 2020, COVID-19 will add 15,000 deaths in Canada, including about 8,000, or 53%, in Quebec. Our province only accounts for 23% of the population of Canada. In Quebec, between January 25 and 31, 2021, the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 was 72% higher on the island of Montreal compared to all of Quebec, including Montreal.
With teleworking, downtown Montreal has been deserted or almost deserted since last March. Our city’s hospitals, universities, CEGEPs and workplaces are being hit hard. And now we learn, not surprisingly, that, according to CMHC, when we compare the three largest cities in Canada in terms of housing starts in January:
It’s in Montreal that peri-urbanization is the strongest; in Toronto and Vancouver, the number of dwellings completed in January reaches a peak within a radius of 20 to 30 km, while, in the greater Montreal area, this peak is more than 30 km; in the greater Montreal area, the housing supply increases as one moves away from the city center and decreases according to population density.
Already in 2016, by applying the same mathematical method to calculate the limits of the metropolitan areas of Toronto and Montreal, we discovered that the metropolitan area of Montreal was 29% larger than that of Toronto, while the greater Toronto area had a population 37.5% larger than that of the greater Montreal area.
Moreover, we discovered that between 2006 and 2016, Toronto had succeeded in reducing its urban sprawl by 3% measured by the ratio between the density of the inner suburbs and the density of the center, while Montreal had increased its sprawl by 11%. urban calculated in the same way.
Everything indicates that the recent evolution of residential construction in the Montreal region only seriously accentuates this phenomenon of urban sprawl over which we have obviously completely lost control with the known foreseeable consequences: increased spending on urban infrastructure (roads, streets, sewers, aqueducts, schools, multi-purpose, hospitals and clinics), increase in greenhouse gases, decline and impoverishment of the center, increase in crime in the center of the agglomeration, deterioration of the historical heritage concentrated in the center, loss of competitiveness of the region, etc.
However, neither at the federal, nor at the provincial level, nor at the City of Montreal, we see the slightest coherent vision of the seriousness of the problem and of what must be done. These people are not even aware that Montreal’s most direct competitor has not been Toronto for several years. It is now Ottawa, which has downgraded Calgary to the fourth largest Canadian city and which is only 170 km from Montreal.
The problem is that the Liberal Party of Canada table less and less on Quebec and the CAQ, less and less on the island of Montreal. As for Projet Montréal, it spoke of urban sprawl before it came to power (it was even at the heart of its program under Richard Bergeron) and has not spoken of it since. We cannot even assure that the REM will stop at Montreal International Airport which was inaugurated 80 years ago in 1941! Who will save Montreal?
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