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Get with program, Mayor Tremblay tells media


Focus on positive aspects of projects


By JAMES MENNIE, The Gazette

March 20, 2010



Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay.

Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf, Gazette file photo


MONTREAL – Mayor Gérald Tremblay is challenging local media to play a greater role in making Montrealers feel good about their city's development.


"There's good news here this morning, will we be reading about it in the newspapers tomorrow?" Tremblay asked as his audience of about 300 attending a Board of Trade overview of the city projects burst into applause.


"The media have a responsibility to change the state of mind that we can have.


"If there's a state of mind here this morning, it's one that's so positive it encourages me to go on making Montreal a place where people can look around them and say: 'What a beautiful city.' "


Attitudes toward development also figured in a speech delivered by Board chairperson Michel Leblanc, who noted it's frustrating "to hear complaints about traffic jams caused by construction on a downtown project, and at the same time hear other complaints that there seem to be no big projects going on in Montreal."


Both men made their comments during the Strategic Forum on Development organized by the Board of Trade, where audience members are given an update on the progress of various projects taking place in the city.


Tremblay's reference to the media seems to have been sparked by questions posed during a press conference held during a break in the forum. One reporter asked why major projects like the Griffintown and Radio-Canada development projects, as well as the renovation of Notre Dame St. and the creation of a tramway system in Montreal, were absent from the forum's lineup.


Tremblay replied such questions always placed those who had to answer them in a no-win situation.


"If we presented all the projects, people would say we're being unrealistic and should prioritize," he said. "The Board of Trade, after examining (the projects), chose those which seemed most likely to get off the ground as quickly as possible.


"Just because the people responsible for the Griffintown project aren't here doesn't mean the project isn't going to go forward."


The Forum did hear presentations on the Quartier des spectacles, which is scheduled to be ready to receive this summer's festivals, the 2-22 redevelopment project on St. Laurent Blvd., the Nouveau Havre harbourfront renewal project, the CHUM superhospital development (which is scheduled to break ground for its research centre next month) as well as the renovation of Ste. Justine Hospital.


After his speech, Tremblay told The Gazette the economic downturn had delayed some projects, "but they're still going on."


"What's really important is that we start to send out a strong message to Montrealers," he said. "That Montreal has great potential, that we have leaders from the public sector, from the private sector, that want to accelerate the development of Montreal."



© Copyright © The Montreal Gazette


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"to hear complaints about traffic jams caused by construction on a downtown project, and at the same time hear other complaints that there seem to be no big projects going on in Montreal."


So true. We complain about construction everywhere and then when blast the authorities for not doing enough. When you operate in an overbuilt metropolis, you have to hack your way with a meat ax.:)

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What is discouraging sometimes is the lack of accuracy with the criticism the city gets. Sometimes it manifests as impersonal criticism. It all stems from the commonly held belief that blame has to be assigned somewhere (the buck has to stop somewhere).


If a project isn't getting off the ground, is that the mayor's fault or even the city - not necessarily. Developers having trouble getting capital, architects/planners/engineers fussing about the "how" and opposition trying to stop the project - maybe.


There are certain things within the city's responsibility, such as roads, sidewalks, snow removal, urban space,etc...things that may be wanting because of city (mis)management, but some of the "large projects" people say are lacking in Montreal isn't necessarily the mayor's fault. I wonder if people ever considered that the mayor probably wants to do grand things for Montreal, that local architects want to design extremely progressive contemporary structures and that developers want to increase their holdings with as many downtown high rises as possible. I wonder if people ever considered that maybe the mayor wants to see every parking lot downtown plugged with a 50 storey office tower. Unfortunately, the criticism is framed to look like the mayor, the city and the designers are out of ideas and that they lack creativity. Creativity isn't the problem in Montreal, it's lack of capital.


The same argument can be made for the Habs. People often say the Habs don't care about winning and only care about making money, so as long as the Bell Centre is filled, they have no incentive to improve the team. This black & white way of looking at the situation is wrong. Do people ever consider that maybe the Canadiens want to win the Stanley Cup every year? Is it the Habs fault the taxes in Quebec are so high, is it the Habs fault the media is so intense, is it the Habs fault the language issue is so inflammatory, is it the Habs fault that the fans are way too crazy about them - all of which deter top NHLers from choosing to sign with the Habs in their prime if other offers are on the table. These reasons explain the second round exits and lack of size up front, more than a lack of will by management or ownership to win the Stanley Cup every year.


It's not lack of desire, or ability to think big or dream big or be creative - it's ALL about lack of capital and failing to gather investments.

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Gérald «Bouchons» Tremblay


Vincent Marissal


Nous avons eu, il y a deux ans, Marcel «Crampons» Tremblay. Nous avons maintenant son frère, Gérald «Bouchons» Tremblay, notre maire adoré.


Voici ce que Gérald Tremblay disait le soir de sa réélection, le 1er novembre, au terme d’une campagne marquée par les odeurs de scandales : «Je sais que le mandat que l’on me confie vient avec de grandes responsabilités. Mon défi comme homme politique est de regagner la confiance de tous les Montréalais. Les citoyens veulent du changement, nous incarnons ce changement.»


Un peu plus de quatre mois plus tard, voici ce qu’il a dit, vendredi, devant la Chambre de commerce de Montréal : «On peut faire du Montréal bashing, mais il faut rester positif. (…) Si vous voulez reprendre le discours de l’immobilisme, j’ai trouvé la recette: je n’écoute plus!»


Pas mal pour un maire malmené, qui n’a obtenu que 38 % des votes des Montréalais et qui disait avoir «bien compris» que ce résultat «était aussi un avertissement».


Maintenant qu’il est confortablement réinstallé à l’Hôtel de ville pour quatre ans, que l’on ne parle plus des contrats de compteurs d’eau et que Québec refuse de déclencher une enquête publique sur la construction et le financement des partis, vous pouvez toujours critiquer, M. le maire ne vous écoute même plus.

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