Hull fights the doughnut syndrome

The mayor of hull is looking at bringing more life to the downtown, encouraged by a survey that indicates people are ready to move back to the city core.

Hull is suffering from the same problem as Montreal: people are moving out of downtown to go to the suburbs, a situation commonly referred to as the doughnut syndrome.

For years, the City of Hull has spent considerable resources to make downtown more attractive. First it got rid of most of the bars on the Hull strip, replacing them with cafes and computer stores. It also provided renovation money to businesses on Eddy Street.

The result: crime dropped by 75% over the past six years on Promenade du Portage. The main street is no longer attracting large crowds looking for a fight.

But prostitution remains a problem. This week alone, five men were arrested in downtown Hull for solicitation after an undercover police officer posed as a prostitute.

Still, according to the recent survey, some people, mostly tenants without children, would be ready to move to downtown Hull if affordable apartments were available.

Mayor Yves Ducharme was glad to hear that. He's been trying lately to persuade business people to build bachelor apartments and studios across from the federal government buildings on Promenade du Portage.